Friday, 10 April 2020

Teknaf, Bangladesh: A refugee from a Burmese refugee camp in Bangladesh has complained about harassment he is facing by authorities since 2001.


The victim Habib Ullah (29) is the son of Sultan Ahamed, MRC No. 46948 of Nayapara refugee camp of Cox's Bazaar District in Bangladesh, according to Habib Ullah from the camp.


He said since 2001 he has been facing harassment in the refugee camp. Fozlul Karim, the then Camp-in-Charge of Nayapara camp wanted him repatriated to Burma . But, he refused to return home as the situation was not favorable in Burma . So, the camp-in-charge was angry with Habib Ullah and he filed an anti-repatriation case against him along with 27 other refugees (five women and 22 men) from the camp.


At that time, the Bangladesh government tried to repatriate refugees forcefully. So, some refugees went on hunger strike and did not receive any ration from the camp. The 27 refugees including the men and the women were also on hunger strike. But, Habib Ullah was excluded from the hunger strike.


"The concerned authorities filed such cases against us only to compel us to go back and to deprive us of our rights and opportunities.  The cases were filed six years ago.  But, it has not been concluded yet. It means that the concerned authorities want me including others to be deprived of our rights and continue to harass us," Habib Ullah said.


"At that time, we had a protection officer Mrs Indo Madam, but she did not give us protection. Even, the government does not want to conclude the cases so that it can put pressure on us," he added.


"The concerned authorities tried to arrest me in 2001, but they failed as I was absconding. However, I was arrested for the first time on March 29, 2003, and got bail after seven months.  In the Magistrate Court of Cox's Bazaar, the concerned authorities put up the case under the Act of GR. 142/2001. But, in the Judge's Court, the case was changed into Act No. ST 140/ 2006," Habib added.


"In June, 2006, I was again arrested by the police, for the second time, but got bail along with Tayaba Khatun (35) of Nayapara camp No.2, on April 5, 2007. Now, I am staying in Nayapara refugee camp," Habib said.


At present, nine male refugees are languishing in Cox's Bazaar jail and four female refugees are absconding.


"I was asked in court whether I was guilty or not. I replied that I am innocent," he said.


"I express my deep grief and sorrow on the blind law of Bangladesh.  I was arrested twice but got bail.  Therefore, my earnest appeal to concerned authorities is to dismiss the cases which were filed against us as we are uprooted refugees taking shelter in your soil,” he added.