• Friday, Feb 26, 2021
  • Last Update : 02:59 pm

ED: Get to the bottom of these fires

  • Published at 12:36 am January 21st, 2021
Rohingya camp Cox Bazar
A Unicef learning center burning down at a Rohingya camp, in Cox's Bazar on January 18, 2021 AFP

It is ultimately the Rohingya who are suffering

It has been extremely concerning to see the series of fire incidents that have recently occurred in the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar.

While the camp structures have never been the safest accommodation, and it was one of many reasons why there were calls to relocate the Rohingya to safer and better facilities at Bhashan Char, nonetheless, these fire incidents should be looked into and the reason for their occurrences uncovered.

The most alarming of the fire incidents was perhaps the burning of four Unicef schools for Rohingya children, and while the UN agency claims that this was an act of arson, local public representatives and politicians have claimed that some of the NGOs working at the camps are the ones behind the fires. 

Clearly, then, there is a need for a thorough investigation into the matter, and if any foul play is indeed found, the culprits must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

This disharmony and lack of trust among the various parties, all of whom are tasked with ensuring the Rohingya’s safety, does not bode well for the Rohingya community, as it is ultimately them who are suffering as a result of these fires -- deprived of a roof over their head and their children unable to receive the minimum education they were receiving at the Unicef schools.

While fortifying the camps and making them more fire-proof may not be practical at this stage given the intention to relocate the refugees to Bhashan Char, it remains extremely important to ensure that the Rohingya, who have already suffered enough, do not face additional danger and threats to their security while at the camps.

Furthermore, it is imperative that the stakeholders at the camps, from the local host communities to the leaders to the international organizations and NGOs, cooperate and maintain trust. Failure to do so simply adds to the misery of the Rohingya.

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