Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Kutupalong Refugee Camp staged a demonstration yesterday seeking a 'protected return and protected homeland,' as a United Nations Security Council delegation visited the camp for the very first time yesterday.
The UNSC delegates arrived in Cox’s Bazar on Saturday afternoon to assess first-hand the plights of refugees in Bangladesh. They will follow this with a visit to Rakhine state in Myanmar.
Hundreds of thousands of refugees in the Kutupalong camp took the opportunity to directly convey their message to the UN about their repatriation and protected homeland in Rakhine state.
“Burma is my homeland and we want to return there with conditions. The situation in Rakhine is yet to improve as military atrocities have become a regular incident there,” said Mohammad Nur, a 33-year-old Rohingya Muslim at Kutupalong in Cox’s Bazar.
He said: “We have come here to present our demands to the international community. We want peace, protected return and protected homeland so that we can live with dignity.”
The refugees said that without guaranteed citizenship and rights to move freely, they would not return to Rakhine. They also urged the UN to deploy security forces to ensure security of Rohingya people.
Nur Abser, a volunteer school teacher in the refugee camp, said they want the UN’s support in attracting the powerful Asian nations to the solution of the crisis.
“We urge the UN to ensure our human rights, making the world a safe place for all Rohingya refugees - including trial against the genocidal attacks of the Burmese government on innocent people,” Abser said.
The protesting refugees held up placards, demanding compensation for their losses and return of their confiscated lands. They also demanded freedom of religion, education, health and work.
Amena Begum, a young widow, said: “The Burmese attackers have killed our men, torched our houses and occupied properties; they have violated our women and buried our children alive. How can we return to that hell?”
“We cannot think of going back there until the attackers are punished. We demand rehabilitation to our own land, village and homes,” she said.
“We urge the international community to play an effective role to restore our nationality with the Rohingya identity,” she added.