The Government of Bangladesh should immediately cease its punitive restrictions on international organisations providing lifesaving humanitarian aid to the more than 200,000 Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.
The government should also open its borders to Rohingya fleeing sectarian violence and abuses by Burmese security forces in Arakan State in western Burma, it added.
The HRW further said that in late July 2012, the Bangladesh Government ordered three prominent international aid organisations – Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), Action Contre la Faim (Action Against Hunger), and Muslim Aid – to cease providing assistance to Rohingya living in Cox’s Bazaar and surrounding areas.
“The Bangladeshi government is trying to make conditions for Rohingya refugees already living in Bangladesh so awful that people fleeing brutal abuses in neighbouring Burma will stay home,” said Bill Frelick, the director of the Refugees Program at Human Rights Watch.
He added: “This is a cruel and inhumane policy that should immediately be reversed. The government should be welcoming aid organisations that provide life-saving aid, not shutting down their programs to assist refugees