September 13th, 2017
Amidst the growing crisis in Myanmar about the Rohingya Muslims, Khalsa Aid International, a Sikh humanitarian organisation has arrived at the Bangladesh-Myanmar border to provide relief to the fleeing refugees, reports The Indian Express.
The volunteers of the organisation have reached out to the refugees in Teknaf, a border town of Bangladesh and in a Facebook live they have stated that the situation is deplorable.
Rohingya Refugees ReliefRefugees continue to arrive into Bangladesh from Myanmar. Our volunteers are on the border areas to assist some of the most vulnerable. We are setting up a short to medium term relief project in the area. To DONATE towards this project please click on the following link: https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/khalsaaid/refugeesThank you for your support.
Posted by Khalsa Aid International on Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Speaking to The Indian Express, Amarpreet Singh, managing director, Khalsa Aid said, “We had come prepared for providing relief to some 50,000 people, but there are more than three lakh refugees here. They are living without water, food, clothes and shelter. They are sitting wherever they can find a corner. It is raining, but people do not have anywhere to go. It is miserable, to say the least.”
“Children are roaming about without any clothes – all they are looking for is food,” Singh added.
The organisation is arranging for langar (community kitchen) and shelter for the refugees who have been suffering because of the inadequate facilities of the overpopulated camps. Their conditions have worsened due to heavy downpour in the area.
Teknaf is almost a 10 hours ride from the capital city of Dhaka, from where the organisation is ferrying all the material needed to prepare langar. Connectivity issues and rain are major hindrances that Khalsa Aid is encountering. The langar is due to continue there till the crisis is over, and refugees continue arriving at the border.
Another team of Khalsa Aid volunteers is reportedly expected to reach the border town Teknaf in coming days to assist in the relief operations.
The Rohingya crisis
The latest round of violence in Myanmar’s northwestern Rakhine state began on 25 August and had evolved into a full-blown humanitarian crisis, with over one lakh Rohingyas fleeing the country to neighbouring Bangladesh, and thousands stranded in Myanmar’s mountainous borderlands.
The Rohingyas are a Muslim Indo-Aryan population living mainly along the west coast of Myanmar. While they can be found in India, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and many other countries, the largest number of Rohingyas are found in Myanmar. Within Myanmar, they are concentrated in the Rakhine State, located along the west coast. They number around 1.3 million out of the 52 million people who live in Myanmar.
The crimes against Rohingyas have not subsided since the arrival of democracy in 2015. Military forces instigated a brutal military crackdown against Rohingyas in 2016 following attacks on police camps on the border of the Rakhine State. There were widespread violations of human rights including extrajudicial killings, gang rapes, arsons etc.
In 2015, thousands of Rohingyas fled Myanmar in makeshift and small boats across the Andaman Sea. Hundreds died, and thousands were trafficked. At least 139 graves have been identified with bodies of trafficked Rohingyas along the border with Thailand.
Although the United Nations and human rights groups have repeatedly called for measures to protect the Rohingyas in Myanmar, the government has denied the atrocities taking place or downplayed their magnitude.
The Indian government recently decided to deport the Rohingya refugee population. The decision received much flak, with supporters of the move citing national security as the rationale behind the decision and critics saying the move, by forcing the Rohingyas back to Myanmar, would inevitably expose thousands to prosecution.
On Monday, September 4, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to give a detailed reply on its decision to deport the Rohingyas back to Myanmar. The centre argued that it would not deport Rohingyas, but that it had notied states to identify all illegal immigrants.
The Logical Indian community applauds the move by Khalsa Aid International that aims at helping the Rohingya Muslims who have no roof over their head and food to fill their stomachs. Alongside, we emphasise on the pressing need for the Myanmar government to acknowledge the mounting problem and take swift action to address the issue, punish the perpetrators and safeguard human rights in a democratic Myanmar.