In mid-April, after receiving a report that thousands of Rohingya refugees were being enslaved and mistreated on the settlement, Cox’s Bazar is the first port of call for aid workers who are trying to put a sense of stability back into the lives of more than a quarter of a million displaced.
A daunting task that seems to only be making people more miserable, with reports of rape, sexual abuse, forced labor, and the emotional harm that such behaviour causes. The Red Cross now has a new report that suggests the conditions on the island are even worse than previously reported.
The authorities on the island cannot effectively run it and the Red Cross says that “[h]eapsing people from their refugee settlements” has had a “terrible” effect. The refugees’ rights are not being respected, the report said, with many saying they can see no other option but to leave the island “due to lack of shelter, food, water and shelter.”
The report also said that if the current flood control plan to repair the island’s crumbling infrastructures is allowed to proceed, it could lead to humanitarian crises. On top of the risk of flooding, the entire island will be affected as it will receive a raw sewage overflow which could result in “severe contamination,” potentially damaging domestic properties. The report claimed that “There’s no humanitarian program that will be able to achieve its aims unless it’s able to address the major operational and sustainability challenges.”
The Rohingya refugees, who have fled neighboring Myanmar, were accommodated on Manas Island following a court order following the severe flooding in 2016. But concerns for the safety of the refugees have risen with the government enacting stringent measures since authorities began bulldozing thousands of Rohingya homes on the island last month.
Read the full story at The New York Times.
‘Naked gangs’ and vicious fighting: Behind the U.N.’s Rohingya crisis