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Rohingya crisis: Govt to take over all administrative duties in camps

  • Published at 07:07 pm September 5th, 2019
File photo of a Rohingya Camp Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

UNHCR along with IOM is helping RRRC to ensure humanitarian assistance to the Rohingyas in 34 camps

The government has started the process to take over all administrative responsibilities in the Rohingya camps, two years since the latest influx of Rohingyas that began on August 25, 2017, due to an unprecedented brutal military crackdown by Myanmar.

Confirming the matter to Dhaka Tribune, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC) official, and Camp-in-Charge (CIC) Zahid Akhter said: “The government, around two months ago, had sent some officials for administrative duties here (at the Rohingya camps), and currently they are getting necessary training.”

"Establishing a definite service system (in the Rohingya camps) was not that easy. Registered camps have one CIC, and during the initial influx, the in-charges did not have any extra hands for assistance in their work. Later, upon expansion, each camp had one CIC. The concerned CICs got two volunteers to assist them. 

"But controlling this large number of displaced people, along with the huge number of NGOs, was not that easy. Thus, during the early stages of the influx, the government outsourced recruitment and site management responsibilities through United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization of Migration (IOM) as it did not have adequate time to respond to the crisis," he added. 

"The principal responsibilities of a site management team is to help manage the site while ensuring a service map for the sites, and assist in administrative duties. The best thing about outsourcing site management responsibilities was ensuring a very good service-map (who, where will provide what types of services). But there were also some negatives of this decision.

"These aid workers working at the camps, only think about providing assistance to the Rohingyas but have failed to understand what the government is thinking regarding the proceedings, and how they (government) want to provide services to the Rohingyas. The NGOs working at the camps (for site management) are deployed through UNHCR or IOM, and their loyalty seemed to be tilted towards these bodies," the RRRC official said.

"A good number of humanitarian activities are taking place inside the Rohingya camps, and in order to achieve the desired objectives, the government will recruit 40 to 50 individuals. 

“But only seven to nine of us are carrying out this huge task,” he added.

Addressing the proceedings, RRRC Additional Commissioner Mohammad Mizanur Rahman said, as funding to look after the persecuted people sheltered in Cox’s Bazar is in the decline, UNHCR has asked Bangladesh government to take over all administrative duties in the Rohingya camps. 

"As a part of the initiative to bring all administrative duties under the government's umbrella, seven to nine officials were deployed in the Rohingya camps as apprentice officers, and they are expected to start managing these sites (administrative duties) in full swing, hopefully by the end of 2019. 

"It is a long process, and would take more time to take over all other activities related with the Rohingya crisis."  he added. 

Led by a commissioner, RRRC is a unit of the Bangladesh government responsible for the administrative duties inside the Rohingya camps. 

The monumental task of helping Rohingyas 

Anybody, who has not been in the camps recently, will be surprised to see the level of development achieved in the last two years. 

UNHCR along with IOM is helping RRRC to ensure humanitarian assistance to the Rohingyas in the 34 camps.

In every camp, either IOM or UNHCR leads the humanitarian operations, while a Camp-in-Charge from RRRC performs the administrative duties.

According to ISCG, the coordinator of the whole operation, the camps are divided into 16 different sectors where Rohingyas get access to 11 types of services. (Bangladesh: Cox’s Bazar refugee response (4W) - as of 05 August 2019, published by ISCG) 

The agencies which are responsible for site management, are providing referral services (granting special permissions regarding movement of Rohingyas, and providing services if not received) and this is playing a key role in abolishing the gaps between the service maps. 

The major services that these bodies are providing include: Site management; site development, education; food security; health; child protection; protection from gender based violence (GBV); water, sanitation, hygiene (WASH); and shelter/NFI, and communication with community (CwC).

In the camps, all services for Rohingyas are provided by a mix of  NGOs (local, national and international) along with the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA), and Department of Social Services under the Ministry of Social Welfare, while district units of every other concerned ministry are also involved in the procedure. 

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