Thousands of Rohingyan Muslims living in the camps of Bangladesh staged demonstrations demanding their repatriation back to their homeland on Sunday, a day before world refugee day.
The campaigning named “Bari Cholo” (Let’s Go Home) involved 23 Rohingya camps, 21 Ukhiam, and two in Teknaf Upazila, a government official told Bangladesh’s newspaper The Daily Star. Thousands of refugees including children joined the march holding placards that read “Enough is Enough ! Let’s Go Home”.
Almost one million Rohingyans are living under bamboo and tarpaulin shacks in 34 squalid camps in the southeastern part of Bangladesh, with no job, little access to education, and poor living condition.
“We don’t want to stay in the camps. Being refugees is not easy. It’s hell. Enough is enough. Let’s go home,” said Sayed Ullah, Rohingya community leader in a speech during the rally.
The repatriation attempt came after meeting foreign secretaries of Bangladesh and Myanmar through a video conference since three years. During the meeting, Dhaka pressed Naypyidaw for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees to start this year, said a Bangladesh foreign ministry official told AFP.
There are more than 890,000 Rohingya refugees sheltering in Bangladesh, the biggest cluster of refugee camps in the world. About 92,000 Rohingya refugees reside in Thailand, 21,000 in India, and 102,000 in Malaysia.
UNHCR spokesperson Regina De La Portilla said refugees in Bangladesh say they want to return to Myanmar.“But they also say that they do not feel it would be safe to do so yet. Today they demonstrated to show their desire to return and call attention to their needs,” she said