12 NGOs barred from aiding Rohingyas

Mohiuddin Alamgir | Updated at 11:38am on January 04, 2018


Rohingya refugees carry bamboos to build their shelters at Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar on Wednesday. — Reuters photo

Bangladesh government has banned 12 local non-governmental organisations from carrying out humanitarian assistance operations for Rohingya people who have taken shelter in Cox’s Bazar fleeing violence in their homeland Myanmar.
‘The government has banned activities of 12 local NGOs from carrying out assistance among Rohingya as they are not registered with the NGO Affairs Bureau,’ Ukhia upazila nirbahi officer Md Nikaruzzaman told New Age on Wednesday.
He said that they received a letter from the home ministry in mid-December, which directed them to ban activities of the organisations.
The 12 NGOs are SARPG, Jagoron, SHED WASH, Kalb, MPDR, Tie BD, LESOM, OPKA, Manabadhikar, SRPB, SELEB and NGO portion of Grameen Bank, said Nikaruzzaman.
The home ministry letter argued that as these NGOs were working without registration from the NGO Affairs Bureau, there accountability could not be ensured.
According to the estimation of United Nations till Tuesday, 6,55,500 Rohingya people entered Bangladesh since the beginning of the new influx on August 25, what the UN called the world’s fastest-developing refugee emergency.
The new influx began after Myanmar security forces responded to Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army’s reported attacks on August 25 by launching a violent campaign against Rohingya people, which the UN denounced as ‘ethnic cleansing’.
Officials estimated that the new influx took the number of documented and undocumented Myanmar nationals in Bangladesh to 10.74 lakh.
Terrified, half-starved, exhausted Rohingya people continued to arrive in Bangladesh in groups trekking through hills and forests and crossing rough sea and the River Naf on boat and taking shelter wherever they could in Cox’s Bazar.
Almost all the Rohingyas have taken shelters in makeshift camps and have been living on humanitarian assistances provided by the Bangladesh government and international aid groups.
The parliamentary standing committee on the foreign affairs ministry on October 11 asked the government to screen all the NGOs working in Cox’s Bazar assisting the Rohingyas so that none could ‘misguide and misuse the humanitarian crisis’.