The Rohingyas are an ethnic group of Muslim religion living mainly in the north of Rakhine State, West Myanmar. In their country, they are deprived of nationality because of discriminatory laws, policies and practices based on ethnic criteria.
In Rakhine State, the Burmese authorities are massively depriving Rohingyas of their rights to citizenship by depriving them of their ID and residence permits. The Burmese authorities subject men, women and children to segregation and intimidation in a dehumanizing apartheid system. This system seems designed to make the Rohingya’s life as desperate and humiliating as possible.
Since 25 August 2017, nearly 723,000 Rohingyas have sought refuge in southern Bangladesh, at Cox’s Bazar, to escape the violence of the Burmese army. The refugee population , which is very vulnerable, is now living in extremely difficult conditions. Most Rohingyas left in a hurry, leaving behind most of their property, crops, and livestock. They used much of their savings for transporting and building a shelter, often made of bamboo and plastic sheeting.
The district of Cox’s Bazar is very exposed to natural disasters. It has annual seasons of cyclones and monsoons. These climatic conditions further increase the risk of Rohingya suffering from infectious or water-related diseases.
At the end of August 2017, Bangladeshi authorities reported 5,181 cases of diarrhea, 10,846 cases of respiratory infections and 3,422 cases of skin disease among newly arrived refugees . The number is actually much higher.
Doctors of the World has been working in Bangladesh since 2017. With two local partners, we are improving access to care for Rohingya refugees in the Cox’s Bazar region.
The goal of our teams and partner organisations is to provide primary health care, but also to deal with gender-based violence and the psychological suffering of this uprooted group. Most of them are deeply traumatized by the loss of their loved ones and the extreme violence they have experienced and witnessed. The UN speaks of “complete disregard for human life”: men and children were killed, shot, thrown into the river or in a fire. of the women and girls were raped, many were physically and mentally tortured.
Our 2019 report is available here