Thursday, September 24, 2009

Burma: "We are living in a cage and all communication is cut off with the outside world"

The managing official of the Bangladesh government in registered camps has restricted the movement of refugees starting yesterday evening, said a refugee elder, requesting anonymity.

The officer in-charge of Nayapara camp (under UNHCR), Saiful Islam issued an order to security personnel of the camp, not to allow the refugees to go out, according to a security personnel who told the refugees about the directive.

“The camp officer didn’t issue the order in public or to the committee of refugees. We heard from the security personnel,” the elder said.

The camp officer joined the camp just before the Muslim Eid festival and the refugees wanted to go out of the camp to other places to meet friends and share the joy the same as last year. But, the refugees found out on the last day of Eid, that the security personnel imposed security check posts around the camp and restricted going out of the camp, said a young refugee who wanted to visit his friend.

Last year, the last camp officer Nezam Uddin allowed all facilities to refugees under the banner of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) where he especially applied Article 13 section 1. The refugees enjoyed themselves under his management, he added.

In Bangladesh, there are two government controlled camps, which is under UNHCR (Nayapara and Kutupalong). Last year, the camps had followed the same system and same management. But, this year, the two camps have two systems and one has no restriction and one has restriction in movement, said an elder refugee from Kutupalong.

Now, we are living in a cage and all communication is cut off with the outside world, said a student who claimed that he will not able to join school outside. The refugee camp has no formal education and those who wish to study, have to go out of the camp to join local schools.

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