Teknaf, Bangladesh: Refugees have narrated how in the face of torture and harassment of Rohingyas by the army and Nasaka of Burma, left their homes for Bangladesh. “We don’t want to be refugees forever, and will go back to our homeland when the situation is favourable,” said a refugee leader from Kutupalong camp.  

We are destined to be refugees forever.  So far there has been no hope of our returning to our homeland.  Sufferings in refugee camps have been allotted for us as if we were born to undergo the trials and tribulations of a refugee camp. There is no let-up of our sufferings, he added.

Refugees said, they have been provided with rations since they took shelter in the refugee camp. But they long for their homes in Burma, adding that they do not want to be refugees forever. They regretted that the refugee problem has not been resolved since the UNHCR took it up. 

According to sources in UNHCR at Cox’s Bazaar, More than 200,000 refugees returned home in Burma between 1992 and 2001. At present over 28,000 Rohingyas are living in Nayapara and Kutupalong refugee camps.

On the other hand, 18,000 Rohingya intruders are living in temporary camps at Leda unofficial camp under Teknaf upazila and about 55,000 in hills adjacent to Ukhiya TV Broadcasting Center.

Rohingya refuges of Nayapara and Kutupalong official camps are living in an unhygienic environment.  Ten to 15 people have to live in a room measuring 10ft in length and 8ft in  width. The room with roof covered with polythene is fenced by bamboo. The floor of the room is made of earth. Water during heavy rains fall on the floor through the breaches in the polythene and remains stagnant there, said our correspondent. 

The children living amid squalid and filthy environment fall sick. Pure drinking water is conspiquous by its absence in the camp.

Saiful Islam Majundar and Fazle Rabbi, in-charges of Nayapara and Kutupalong camps respectively said that there would be no let-up until a way for the repatriation of refugees is devised.

The Commissioner of Cox’s Bazaar Rohingya refugee Relief and Expatriation Md. Feroj Salauddin said the repatriation of Rohingya refugees stopped after 92 refugees returned to Burma on May 5, 2005. The Burmese government is not taking any initiative for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees.  According to the rules of the UNO, no refugees can be sent to their homeland forcibly if they do not return of their own accord.

The Rohingyas have turned a perennial problem both for Bangladesh and for themselves. 
Deputy Commissioner Giasuddin Ahmed said, besides 28,874 refugees in two camps at Ukiya and Teknaf, over 100,000 additional Rohingyas are living in different areas of the district.