Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Teknaf, Bangladesh: Refugees from Nayapara UNHCR registered camp are facing more restrictions to their social lives in the camp, said Fayas Ahmed, a refugee committee member from the camp.

“The camp authorities (Camp-in-Charge and camp police officers) have imposed restrictions on movement, using rechargeable batteries, running grocery shops, and using computers.”

“The CIC and security personnel are imposing restrictions on movement ever since the police officer, Nurul Islam, arrived in the camp.”

“We are not allowed to go outside from the official gate, but with understanding we are allowed from other side (gate number #2), and the west, south, and north sides.”

The police personnel are seizing rechargeable batteries from the refugee shacks while the refugees are using the batteries for children studying and giving light during the night inside the shacks for fear of fire from candles and lamps, said Rahima Begum, a refugee woman who has five children.

“Some refugees are still using the lamps, as the UNHCR provided the oil for lamps, but the problem is it is dangerous to use the lamps because of fire.”

“We complained about the seizure of batteries to the concerned authorities, but no attention was given to us.”

“The camp authority seized around 60 batteries from refugees.”

“The camp authorities are also demolishing the grocery shops from which the refugees sell household items for other refugees inside the camp. It is only possible for refugees to obey the restrictions of movement if they are able to buy things inside the camp. The grocery shops support some refugees to survive,” said Abdullah, a shopkeeper who has eight children.

“I used the profit for my children’s education as the UNHCR only gives informal education, and I want my children to be educated. I send them to a private home school for education, and I used this shop to support them.”

“The authorities also ordered to refugee committee to collect a list of computers which are used inside the camp. The authorities said there is no need to use computers inside the camp because they fear information about the camp will go out through social networks like Facebook and other sources,” said a refugee elder who has a student attending the computer school provided by UNHCR and RTM International.

“We have no money to buy computers, but we got the computer from our relative who has resettled to another country. There may be around ten computers in the camp. If the authorities don’t allow us to use computers in our shack, how can we practice our computer lessons?” asked a computer student from camp.

In Bangladesh, there are two UNHCR-registered camps. One has restrictions to social affairs for refugees, while the other does not. The UNHCR has full responsibility to ensure the people’s rights in these camps,” said Kalameah, an elder refugee from the camp.