09/20/2019, 15.00
BANGLADESH
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Prime Minister Hasina says Rohingya are "a burden" for Bangladesh

by Sumon Corraya

Because of the Rohingya, “local people have to face immense suffering,” said the prime minister. In Cox’s Bazar camps, crime is up, including robberies, murders, prostitution, and drugs. Bangladeshi authorities cut telecommunications, sparking protest by activists and NGOs.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - The Rohingya refugees who fled violence in Myanmar are a burden for Bangladesh, this according to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (pictured) who spoke to the United Kingdom All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) yesterday.

Led by president Anne Main, British lawmakers presented the prime minister with the final report on their visit to Cox’s Bazar refuge camps.

Since “the Liberation War in 1971 when an estimated 10 million Bangladeshis took shelter in India as refugees, we know pain and sufferings of refugees but now the Rohingya have emerged as a big burden for us and the local people have to face immense suffering for them,” Sheikh Hasina said.

In recent weeks, some Bangladeshis have complained about the Rohingya, echoing people in Rakhine, the Myanmar state the Muslim minority left starting in August 2017.

In Cox’s Bazar refugee camps, many refugees use cell phones and smartphones illegally; crimes have increased with robberies, murders, prostitution and drug trafficking.

Some Rohingya have been able to get away from the reception facilities and reach neighbouring towns where they have mingled with the local population in an attempt to obtain a passport and move to a third country.

Many claim that the refugees represent a threat to security since Islamist militancy is spreading increasingly among them.

On 9 September, the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission ordered all operators to shut down 3G and 4G services in the camps. The refugees report that the high-speed service was closed the following day.

A week earlier, the government had ordered the closure of all 3G and 4G services between 5 pm and 6 am. At present, 2G services seem to remain available but limited only to calls and text messages.

Activists and NGOs working in Cox’s Bazar camps are urging the Bangladeshi government to lift the restrictions immediately.

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