Wednesday June 19, 2013
Bangladesh: Thousands of Refugees Fleeing Burma in Need of Food, ShelterLetter by William Gomes Salem-News.com
Our human rights ambassador contacts Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs to help refugees from Myanmar.
(SALEM) - The face of a Burmese refugee pleading with Bangladeshi officials, begging to be allowed entry with his disheveled family, is possibly one of the saddest moments ever captured.
Bangladeshi public officials know there is terrible secular fighting taking place in Burma's Arakan state; they are aware of the dangers facing these refugees, yet Bangladesh is failing to fulfill an obligation to humanity, leaving refugees in 'no man's land' when their only desire is to survive.
Once again, suffering souls are pawns in a game of chess. Predictably, the players are nations with long lists of human rights violations, that openly disregard international law.
More than 100 people are languishing, unable to escape their war torn land or find refuge in Bangladesh. How much difference could that many people really make?
The United Nation's High Commission for Refugees is calling upon Bangladesh to provide the refugees shelter, and Human Rights Watch is asking Bangladesh to allow independent humanitarian agencies free and unfettered access to the border areas.
By closing its border when violence in Arakan State is out of control, Bangladesh is putting lives at grave risk many refugees Fleeing Burma.
Anticipating massive influx of refugees fleeing raging violence between Buddhists and Muslims in western Myanmar, Bangladesh has ordered its border guards, coast guards and local administration to heighten their vigilance along its border with Myanmar, according to media reports .
As the Bangladeshi border guards reportedly blocked hundreds of Rohingyas, who attempted to enter Bangladesh over the last three days, New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch urged Bangladesh to change its position on humanitarian grounds.
But since Tuesday, the Foreign Minister has been saying that "it is not in our best interests that new refugees be allowed entry from Myanmar".
Foreign Minister Dipu Moni on Thursday once again reaffirmed Bangladesh's stance against allowing Rohingya refugees inside its territory, media reports.
"Bangladesh has not signed any international agreement to allow refugees," she said in parliament snubbing continuous calls from international rights groups and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to immediately open the border to people seeking refuge from sectarian violence in Myanmar, media reports.
"Bangladesh never signed any kind of international act, convention or law for allowing and giving shelter to refugees."
"That's why we are not bound to provide shelter to the Rohingyas," Moni said, media reports.
Bangladesh authorities have ordered intensified frontier vigil by its paramilitary frontier troops and coastguards to prevent any Rohingya influx from the troubled Myanmar region, media reports.
As many as 114 Rohingyas fleeing ethnic violence at Myanmar's Rakhine province were arrested as they tried to intrude into Bangladesh, according to reports.
The United Nation's High Commission for Refugees has already called upon the government of Bangladesh for providing Rohingyas shelter.
Human Rights Watch called on the Bangladeshi government to allow independent humanitarian agencies free and unfettered access to the border areas. Other governments should provide humanitarian assistance and other support for the refugees. They should also help in finding durable solutions both for the new arrivals and for the 29,000 registered and an estimated 200,000 unregistered Rohingya refugees from Burma already in Bangladesh, who are living in some of the poorest provisioned camps in the world.
I am appealing you please immediately intervene on the urgent situation.
Please ask Bangladesh government to Open Borders for Refugees Fleeing Burma.
Bangladesh needs generous support right now from the international community to assist the refugees fleeing Arakan State and to find durable solutions later on, please help Bangladesh government with all possible funds to tackle the situations.
I want to remind you that the Australian government has long taken a calibrated approach of targeted sanctions, principled engagement, and humanitarian aid to press for human rights and genuine democratic reform in Burma.
I urge you please instruct Mr. Justin Lee, Australia’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh to closely monitor the situation.
I look forward to your swift and adequate intervention on this case.
______________________________Salem-News.com Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is a Bangladeshi journalist, human rights activist and author was born on 25 December, 1985 in Dhaka. As an investigative journalist he wrote widely for leading European and Asian media outlets.
He is also active in advocating for free and independent media and journalists’ rights, and is part of the free media movement, Global Independent Media Center – an activist media network for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate telling of the truth. He worked for Italian news agency Asianews.it from year 2009 to 2011, on that time he was accredited as a free lance journalist by the press information department of Bangladesh. During this time he has reported a notable numbers of reports for the news agency which were translated into Chinese and Italian and quoted by notable number of new outlets all over the world.He, ideologically, identifies himself deeply attached with anarchism. His political views are often characterized as “leftist” or “left-wing,” and he has described himself as an individualist anarchist.
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