Monday, 17 June 2019

Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazaar: A police officer at Kutupalong Refugee Camp has been collecting tolls from small shops and harassing the unregistered refugees of an adjacent makeshift camp since December 15, said a shopkeeper from the camp.

Officer Zanial Ubdin of Kutupalong Official Camp ordered all shops where the refugees sell rice, biscuits, and other items inside the makeshift camp to be closed, unless they are able to pay a toll.

The officer has been performing his duties at Kutuaplong Camp for a little over one month. Since beginning his job, Officer Zanial Ubdin, accompanied by police personnel, routinely enters the makeshift camp to harass and arrest refugees that he meets.

The officer has demanded shopkeepers in the unofficial camp pay 500 Taka each for the right to open their shops. If any shopkeeper is unable to pay the required amount, they are not allowed to operate their shop, said a camp committee member who asked not to be named.

The committee member said that shopkeepers only earn a very small profit from selling their goods. “Where they will get an extra 500 Taka to pay the camp police every month?”

A refugee said on condition of anonymity that Officer Zainal Ubdin frequently visits the makeshift camp at night and rebukes the refugees without any reason.

He also said, “We live in the Kutupalong makeshift camp under extreme pressure from the authorities because we are not recognized by the UNHCR or the Bangladeshi government.”