[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Refugees 'starve' in Bangladesh
Rights group accuses authorities of forcing many Burmese refugees into "open-air prisons".
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2010 16:13 GMT
PHR report says thousands of Rohingya refugees are facing starvation in Bangladesh [Reuters] 

An international rights group has accused Bangladesh of "violating human rights" in its crackdown on thousands of unregistered Burmese refugees, many of whom have lived in the country for decades.

In a report released on Tuesday, The Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), said that tens of thousands of Rohingya, a Burmese Muslim ethnic group, had been forced into makeshift camps, facing starvation.

"It is unconscionable to leave this vulnerable population stateless and starving," said Richard Sollom, the PHR director of research and investigations.

"Haiti after the recent earthquake had an acute child malnutrition rate of six percent, in the Rohingya camps the rate is 18.2 percent - three times higher but with no aid," Sollom said.

'Violating human rights'

Up to 300,000 Rohingyas, who have been described by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, have fled across the border to Bangladesh since the 1970's.

The report said the country's authorities were waging a campaign of "arbitrary arrest, illegal expulsion, and forced internment".

The police are "systematically rounding up, jailing or summarily expelling these unregistered refugees across the Myanmar border in flagrant violation of the country's human rights obligations," it said.

'Baseless and malicious'

The report follows two other reports: one by Arakan Project, a lobby group, and another by Doctors Without Borders, a humanitarian NGO, which also criticised the crackdown.

The Bangladeshi government has dismissed the accusations as "baseless and malicious".

It views the Rohingya as illigal immigrants and maintains they must be repatriated.

"We are arresting illegal Rohingya and pushing them back over the border. It is an ongoing operation," said Rafiqul Islam, a Bangladeshi police chief.

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.