Rohingya at Cox’s Bazar greet UN commissioner for refugees with protests demanding rights

Rohingya protest at Cox's Bazar July 10 2017 (Shafiur Rahman tweet) July 10 2017

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi met with Aung San Suu Kyi & also met with “communities” in the towns of Sittwe & Maungdaw, in Arakan (Rakhine) state last Friday. Must have been a whirlwind trip to get all that done in one day since Suu Kyi in Yangon is 890 kilometers (553 miles) away from Sittwe & Maungdaw is 114 km (71 mi) beyond Sittwe.

He waited until he got safely out of Myanmar to Thailand to urge the Suu Kyi regime to grant citizenship to Rohingya. He also said “there’s an urgent need for development investments that must be inclusive of the two communities” which sounds ecumenical but the violence in Arakan is not primarily communal violence between Buddhists & Muslims; rather it is ethnic cleansing by the Mynamar military & Suu Kyi regime which incite Buddhist nationalist violence against Rohingya.

Today Grandi visited Kutupalong refugee camp at Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. There are 30,000 registered Rohingya refugees living there which means they receive some UN assistance though Bangladesh denies them many human rights, including education & job training & also obstructs other refugees from registering for assistance. There were an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 unregistered Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh before the ethnic cleansing siege that began last October & since 75,000 more fled for their lives.

If the UN refugee agency is to mean anything more than rhetoric, it must address the needs & rights of all refugees, including the 275,000 to 325,000 living in unregistered squalor in Bangladesh.

This is the welcoming banner Rohingya activists in Kutupalong camp met Grandi with when he arrived. Our fullest solidarity with their struggle for full democratic, human, citizen, & refugee rights.

(Photo tweeted by Shafiur Rahman