Al Jazeera's Sebastian Walker asks why a system that was designed to help Haitians ended up exacerbating their misery.
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Many Rohingya refugees lost their lifeline to the world this month after the Bangladeshi government blocked their access to mobile phone services. The communication blackout was apparently for security reasons. But it comes soon after efforts to repatriate thousands of Rohingya back to Myanmar failed in August. Overwhelmed with the refugee crisis, Bangladesh is also trying to relocate some Rohingya to a remote island in the Bay of Bengal. But Bhasan Char is prone to cyclones, and refugees fear being stuck there for good.
Fleeing decades of persecution, more than 1.2 million Rohingya refugees live in congested camps in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar district, bordering Myanmar. Many of them left Rakhine state two years ago, after government forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim population.
At that time, the military tortured, raped and killed thousands of Rohingya in what the United Nations has called an "ethnic cleansing campaign." UN officials warned this month that little has changed and Rohingya who return to Myanmar face "the same dire circumstances" as in 2017 – a claim authorities deny.
Those who never left continue to be "denied citizenship and recognition, face regular violence, are unable to move freely and have limited, little access to food, healthcare and education, livelihoods and services," the UN said in a new report.
But there is also no healthcare or education for refugees and their children in Bangladesh. Officials there are calling for an international solution, saying the country cannot afford to take care of the migrants for much longer. In this episode we ask: What will happen to the Rohingya people? Join the conversation.
On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Mohammed Jamjoom, @MIJamjoom
Correspondent, Al Jazeera English
Anita Schug, @SchugAnita
Head of Women & Children Affairs, The European Rohingya Council
Ro Nay San Lwin, @nslwin
Coordinator for Campaign & Media Relations, Free Rohingya Coalition
Bangladesh bans mobile phone access in Rohingya camps – Al Jazeera
Bangladesh to UN: 'Support Rohingya island relocation or leave the country' - DW
Genocide threat for Myanmar’s Rohingya greater than ever, investigators warn Human Rights Council – UN News
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