Mohib Ullah was an outspoken leader for the Rohingya community. He arrived in Bangladesh during the 2016-17 Rohingya exodus and through his human rights organization had been facilitating the documentation of human rights abuses faced by the Rohingyas in Myanmar. The prominent Rohingya leader was assassinated on Wednesday at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox's Bazar. He was shot by unknown gunmen in his office.
In an interview with Dhaka Tribune's Nawaz Farhin Antara on August 25, 2020, the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights chairman, spoke in detail on the critical issues surrounding the Rohingya crisis, including repatriation.
What are the programs that have been taken at the camps to mark the third anniversary of the Rohingya exodus?
This year we are not holding any rallies due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We are all staying inside our houses as a mark of silent protest. Nobody is attending to their jobs, their shops, or even going to the markets.
We want repatriation. We want to return to our homeland but with complete safety, security and respect. We urge the international community to ensure this. The Rohingyas formally demand a trial of those responsible for torture and violence against us. Being persecuted in Myanmar, we have taken refuge in Bangladesh.
What are your demands before the international community?
We urge the international community to first recognize what happened to us in Myanmar as genocide. Secondly, we want to be repatriated with international guarantees of security. .
Third, we want them to take our case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) for ensuring justice. We also want them to ensure that the Rohingyas are able to exercise their rights in the upcoming Myanmar elections.
We want to live in Myanmar with all the rights and benefits of citizens.
The Rohingyas, who were forced to flee Myanmar on account of crimes against humanity and genocide committed against them, have renewed their call for a safe and dignified repatriation as soon as possible, as they have not received any justice.
So, we are waiting for a trial at the ICJ. We want this to be done fast.
What is your take on Bhashan Char?
We have heard from various sources that the Rohingyas will be relocated to Bhashan Char. But the authorities concerned are yet to inform us directly. If the place is properly prepared for us, if it is safe, we have no problems staying at Bhashan Char as we are guests in this country.
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But we have never been to this place. We have never seen it in practical terms. Our people are afraid to live in a place that is remote and too close to water bodies. A visit to Bhashan Char by our representatives will make the decision-making process much easier.
What problems are you facing as a community due to the absence of mobile network and internet at the camps?
We are not being able to properly communicate with each other. We are finding it difficult to contact our relatives living abroad, in Myanmar as well in the different camps of Cox's Bazar. Any type of news is hard to come by, especially things related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Internet facilities are very important for us. We use it to learn and share knowledge.
People studying online -- especially the younger generation -- have been forced to stop all their academic activities. Those who used to study in Myanmar have no scope here at the camps to continue their studies. Our people are moving away from education. But the internet could have helped us.
So, we will be very happy if the Bangladesh government resumes internet and mobile access in the camps.
Are you aware of the government's plans for barbed-wire fencing and watchtowers around the refugee camps?
This fencing initiative started last year (in 2019). We have already seen several pillars being erected outside the camps. Putting up fences around an establishment is normal as long as it doesn’t intend to harm anyone or is used to enforce restrictions, stop communications, control and obstruct an individual's freedom of movement. If the fences are being put up for the protection of the people, then this is good.