Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Genocide Day’ marked in Bangladesh camps

‘Genocide Day’ marked in Bangladesh camps

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Police officers said some 200,000 Rohingya took part in the peaceful gathering in a Bangladesh refugee camp. AFP

‘Genocide Day’ marked in Bangladesh camps

Some 200,000 Rohingya rallied in a Bangladesh refugee camp on Sunday to mark two years since they fled a violent crackdown by Myanmar forces, just days after a second failed attempt to repatriate the refugees.

On Sunday, children, hijab-wearing women and men in long-skirt lungis shouted “God is Great, Long Live Rohingya” as they marched at the heart of the world’s largest refugee camp, to commemorate what they described as “Genocide Day”.

Under the scorching sun, thousands joined in a popular song with the lyrics “the world does not listen to the woes of Rohingya”.

“I have come here to seek justice for the murder of my two sons. I will continue to seek justice till my last breath,” 50-year-old Tayaba Khatun said as tears rolled down her cheeks.

Myanmar had said they were conducting counter-insurgency operations against Rohingya extremists after they attacked police posts, but the UN last year called for Myanmar’s top generals to be prosecuted for genocide over the crisis.

Rohingya leader Mohib Ullah said the stateless minority wanted to return home, but only after they were granted citizenship, their security was ensured and they were allowed to settle back in their villages.

“We have asked the Burmese government for dialogue. But we haven’t got any response from them yet,” Ullah told the rally.

“We were beaten, killed and raped in Rakhine. But still, that is our home. And we want to go back.”

Young Rohingya students from schools set up by aid agencies held marches with black flags and chanted slogans, “yes Rohingya, … no Bengali”, in reference to the term Myanmar have used for the ethnic group.

The refugees offered special prayers, seeking divine blessings for people who had died. They had large banners urging Myanmar to “talk to us about citizenship and Rohingya ethnicity”.

Police officer Zakir Hassan said some 200,000 Rohingya took part in the peaceful gathering, which was attended by UN officials.

Security has been tight across Kutupalong camp, the world’s largest refugee settlement and home to more than 600,000 Rohingya.

“Hundreds of police, army and border guards have been deployed to prevent any violence,” local police chief Abul Monsur said.

The rally came three days after the failed attempt to repatriate the refugees, which saw not a single Rohingya turn up to return across the border.

Bangladesh and UN officials interviewed nearly 300 families, none of them agreed to go back to Myanmar where they fear they would be kept in special camps for internally displaced people.

MOST VIEWED

  • Reports: Rainsy barred from Jakarta flight

    Sam Rainsy was on Wednesday refused entry to a flight from Malaysia to Indonesia, media reported late on Wednesday. The “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party’s announced return to the Kingdom on Independence Day on Saturday failed to occur. Rainsy

  • Government studying EU’s preliminary report on EBA

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Wednesday said the government was studying the EU Commission’s preliminary report on the human rights situation in the Kingdom that could lead to a suspension of access to its “Everything But Arms” (EBA) agreement. The

  • Gov’t: Rainsy’s ‘coup plot’ a failure

    The government on Wednesday commended the Kingdom’s security forces for thwarting the attempted “coup plot” by former opposition leader Sam Rainsy through his announced return to Cambodia on November 9. The comments came as Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue

  • Rainsy blocked from boarding flight to Jakarta

    Sam Rainsy was on Wednesday refused entry to a flight from Malaysia to Indonesia, media reported late on Wednesday. The "acting president" of the Cambodia National Rescue Party's announced return to the Kingdom on Independence Day on Saturday failed to occur. Rainsy arrived in Kuala

  • Tour guides question animal release ban in Angkor moat

    The Khmer Angkor Tour Guide Association (Katga) called on the Apsara National Authority to reconsider its decision banning all animals from being released into the moat surrounding the Angkor Wat temple after the authority prohibited the action for the sake of visitors’ safety. An Apsara

  • Kingdom to import 200MW from Lao hydropower plant

    Cambodia plans to import 200MW of electricity from Laos’ Don Sahong hydropower plant early next year to curb power shortages this coming dry season, with the transmission line network scheduled for completion later this year, Ministry of Mines and Energy spokesman Victor Jona said. Jona,