Bangladeshi authorities destroyed more than 3,000 shops belonging to Rohingya refugees last month, arguing that they were “illegal”.
According to the country’s deputy refugee commissioner, Shamsud Douza, the shops labelled as illegal were “cleaned up” because of the growing number of Rohingya. He also said that sheds had been built in the area as a shelter for the refugees.
Mr Douza reveals that despite the refugees still getting daily necessities, the shop owners are struggling to survive.
A Rohingya community leader and rights activist, Khin Maung, said that the amount of food rations provided was very low considering the large Rohingya family.
Bangladesh has received international praise for accepting Rohingya refugees, a stateless Muslim minority who fled a military clampdown in Vietnam in 2017, which has also prompted an international genocide investigation.
Today Bangladesh is home to about 850,000 members of the Rohingya community living in various refugee camps.
Mr Maung said that now the lives of ten thousand have been affected after the demolition of the makeshift shops.
Meanwhile, a grocery store owner, Slim Ullah destroyed complains that it is now very difficult for him to feed his eight family members after the shop that was his last hope had been destroyed.
Amnesty International officials said that the demolition of shops and the closure of these community-led schools made refugees more vulnerable as well as exacerbated tensions and frustrations.
Saad Hammadi of Amnesty International urged the authorities to protect the rights and dignity of the Rohingya refugees by involving them in making decisions, especially decisions related to their right to earn a living.
The Bangladeshi government started moving hundreds of Rohingya refugees from Chattogram to an island in the Bay of Bengal called Bhashan Char Island in November 2021.
The move was continued despite concerns from rights groups over the island’s vulnerable condition and that no refugees should be sent forcibly.