Responding to the news of a devastating fire on Sunday at the Cox’s Bazaar Rohingya camp in Bangladesh which has left around 12000 refugees homeless, Yasasmin Kaviratne, the regional campaigner for South Asia at Amnesty International said:
“The Government should work with the international community to urgently put in place measures that ensure everyone has access to emergency shelter. Essential items such as cooking implements, medication, and sanitary items must urgently be replaced where lost in the fire to ensure people have access to food, health, sanitation, and adequate housing. All those affected must have access to health and other care that they may need, including mental health care.
The Government should work with the international community to urgently put in place measures that ensure everyone has access to emergency shelter.Yasasmin Kaviratne, the regional campaigner for South Asia at Amnesty International
“Special attention should be paid to meet the needs of groups at most risk of adverse impact due to the loss of homes, health clinics, sanitation facilities, and schools, such as older persons, women, people with disabilities, and children and those experiencing intersectional discrimination among others.
“Steps should be taken to ensure that such fires do not re-occur. The government should recognize the danger of keeping large communities in unsafe, overcrowded conditions and take steps to provide adequate and safe housing to the Rohingya community.”
On 5 March, a massive fire broke out in the afternoon in Cox’s Bazar area of Bangladesh, which is the largest refugee camp in the world. The fire destroyed around 2000 shelters and left around 12000 Rohingya refugees homeless. Since January 2021, there have been more than 200 fire incidents in the Rohingya camps including 60 cases of arson.
Durable solutions for the settlement of Rohingya refugees has been long discussed, but a solution that meets international human rights standards is yet to be implemented. Previously, Amnesty International has raised concerns on the proposed plans to relocate the Rohingya refugees to the Bhashan Char islands reiterating that any relocation plan should be undertaken only with the full, free, prior and informed consent of the individuals involved.