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Bangladesh Government to Build Camp for 400,000 Rohingya Muslim Refugees

  • VOA News

Rohingya refugees line up for water at a refugee camp near Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh government plans to construct a large camp to house some 400,000 Rohingya Muslims who have poured in from neighboring Myanmar over the past three weeks, officials said.

Authorities said 14,000 shelters, each able to accommodate six families, will be built over the next 10 days on an eight square kilometer site near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

The government said the movement of the settlement's refugees would be restricted.

"The Royingya refugees won't be allowed to go outside the camp," Bangladeshi Minister of Home Affairs Asaduzzaman Khan said on September 10. They will also be prohibited from traveling by vehicle in Bangladesh.

Rohingya Muslims, who recently crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, wait for their turn to receive food aid near Balukhali refugee camp, Bangladesh, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017.
Rohingya Muslims, who recently crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, wait for their turn to receive food aid near Balukhali refugee camp, Bangladesh, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017.

The camp, which will be built with the help of the Bangladesh military and international aid groups, is in response to an unprecedented exodus that was sparked by attacks on August 25 carried out by Rohingya militants on a Myanmar army base and police posts.

The Myanmar military responded to the attacks with extrajudicial murders, rapes, village torchings and other acts of violence, according to global rights groups and survivors.

The United Nations recently described Myanmar's actions as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing."

Rohingya Muslims have for decades faced persecution and discrimination in majority Buddhist Myanmar. They are not allowed citizenship, although many families have lived there for generations.

The Myanmar government has maintained that hundreds of Rohingya Muslims, mostly "terrorists," have died, and that 176 out of 471 Rohingya villages have been deserted.

A Rohingya Muslim woman, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, cooks food by the roadside near Mushani refugee camp, Bangladesh, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. United Nations agencies say an estimated 409,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since Aug. 25, following "clearance operations" by Myanmar's military in Rakhine state.
A Rohingya Muslim woman, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, cooks food by the roadside near Mushani refugee camp, Bangladesh, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. United Nations agencies say an estimated 409,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since Aug. 25, following "clearance operations" by Myanmar's military in Rakhine state.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other rights groups said evidence shows that Myanmar military forces systematically targeted and torched Rohingya villages over the last three weeks.

Without offering proof, Myanmar has contended that Rohingya insurgents and departing villagers destroyed their own villages.

U.N. agencies are concerned that continued violence in Myanmar may eventually force up to 1 million Rohyngya into Bangladesh, a poor country that is already overpopulated.

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