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Bangladesh suspends activities of New York-based IRC in Rohingya camps

  • Published at 04:15 pm December 21st, 2020
Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas who have fled their homeland in Rakhine State after being persecuted by their own country Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

The INGO has been carrying out projects without approval from the proper authorities

The government has suspended indefinitely the activities of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) for carrying out projects without the approval of the proper authorities.

In a letter issued on December 8, the Office of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC), based in Cox’s Bazar slapped the restriction. RRRC is the top government agency to deal with the Rohingya crisis

Dhaka Tribune has obtained a copy of the letter signed by Additional RRRC Mohammad Shamsud Douza.

“An organization named International Rescue Committee is conducting its activities in the refugee camps without the approval of the appropriate authorities,” said the letter to Shah Muntamin Mujtaba, deputy director (programs) of the IRC.

“Earlier, they carried out their activities in the FDMN (forcibly-displaced Myanmar nationals) camps ignoring the government directives in the emergency Covid-19 situation,” it said, adding that as a result the IRC was provided with strict directives, including a show-cause notice.

“Under such a situation, it is requested for suspension of all the activities by the organization named International Rescue Committee until further notice,” the letter concluded.

When contacted, Additional RRRC Shamsud Douza told this correspondent, “There have been some compliance issues. They (IRC) have started to address those.”

As asked if the operations of the IRC are suspended now, he said, “Look, they conduct different activities in different camps. They are able to operate where their paper works are okay.”

Manish Agarwal, the IRC country director of Bangladesh, stressed that their organization always conducts its activities in line with government guidelines.

“The letter is dated December 8, but we received it yesterday (December 20). Having received the letter, we are working on that,” he said.

Responding to a query, Agarwal said that apart from health-related activities, all other works of the camps are currently suspended.

Maruf Hasan, the communications manager of the IRC, echoed before adding, “There might be some misunderstanding with regard to our work in protection sector.”

Later, IRC Country Director Agarwal called this correspondent to say: "There's a confusion as RRRC couldn't find one of the letters we sent. Now that they found the letter and the confusion is over."

"We've been told to begin our full operations as early as from tomorrow," he said.

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