Monday, 25 May 2020

Teknaf, Bangladesh: Camp security police and local villagers have increased harassment against the refugees of Nayapara official camp since Ramadan month began on August 2, said a refugee committee member who declined to be named.

On the evening of August 5, camp security police accompanied by some local villagers harassed and looted the belongings of a group of refugees when they tried to enter the camp through rear gate. Refugees are not allowed to go out of the camp from the police gate, so they go out of the camp from rear gate without giving any information to the camp police.

On that day the police and local people looted bananas, sugar, chickpeas, edible oil, green chilies, onions, and more from the refugees who had bought the items from Teknaf market earlier. They looted from 30 refugees on that day. They also seized two mobile phones and money from the refugees.

The police entered the camp, destroyed the small shops of refugees and threw the goods away. Some goods were taken by the police who ordered the refugees to not sell any goods in the camp.

A refugee said that in Thailand, refugees are allowed to sell goods in the camp openly and there are no restrictions. “Even refugees are allowed to do business. Why are we not here? We are the same as other refugees.”

“During Ramadan month, everybody (Muslims) wants to have good food. Refugees are provided some goods in the camp, but it is not sufficient. So they want to buy some other necessary things from outside the camp. Without buying essential goods, they cannot survive.”

The same day, after sunset, a refugee named Mohamed Shoffee (40), on of Du Du Meah, B-Block, MRC No. 0917, Shed No.1024, of Nayapara camp, went to the health clinic of the camp to give food where his wife was admitted for treatment. At that time, a group of police led by one inspector went to his shed and carried away his bedstead, which was made of ordinary wood five months ago by Du Du Meah himself. He is a carpenter and had been taking training for carpentery in the camp that was provided by a government initiative, said a relative of the victim from the camp.

“This matter was appraised to the Camp-in-Charge (CIC) Saiful Islam Mujumdar and a UNHCR official, but the CIC admonished the victim, saying, ‘This is a refugee camp, and no one has a permit to sleep with a bedstead. You have no soil under your feet, why do you want to sleep on a bedstead?”

After that, the victim went to the camp security police to ask them to return his bedstead, but the police asked him to pay 2,000 Taka for his bedstead to be returned. So the victim abandoned it, as it would be worth only 1,000 Taka when sold in a market.

“Everyday, the camp police and local villagers disturb us when we want to go out and when we try to enter the camp after buying essentials from the market. The authorities concerned are requested to provide us facilities to buy things out of the camp during the holy month of Ramadan,” said a refugee elder from the camp.