The situation for refugees in Bangladesh

Hello. Today we started our day by flying to Cox’s Bazar, the closest town to the refugee camp. Actually, there are two camps in the area and they are two hours’ drive apart: Kutapalong and julien DSCN2091 (2)We were received at the UNHCR head office today, and they explained to us what kind of day we will have tomorrow.

The refugees are from Myanmar, or what we also call Burma, and their ethnicity is Rohingya. This is a population that has no country. The Bangladeshi government says they are from Myanmar, and Myanmar says they are Bangladeshis because they are Muslim while the Burmese are Buddhists.

In 2005 the Myanmar government got less strict and a lot of refugees were happy to be able to go back to THEIR own country, but very fast they realised that it was still very hard for them to live, to be accepted and to have security. Therefore, they decided to go back to Bangladesh, but at that moment the Bangladeshi government closed the julien DSCN2097 (2)Now Bangladesh has 30,000 refugees registered and about 300,000-500,000 Rohingyas out in the nature living with nothing. The people living in the camp have no electricity, no water, and they live in small shelters made fragile by time and the weather conditions. Sometimes eight people live in a very small place, and with no real future because they will never be allowed to work on Bangladeshi territory because the government accepts that they live in the camp but not outside. Some people are born in the camp and they are now 22 years old and all their life they’ve always known that they can never be accepted julien DSCN2129 (2)Tomorrow we will visit the camp to meet people and see all that UNHCR does for them, which means healthcare, education, protection and distribution of food. They do all this with a very positive energy, even though they all know that probably the situation will not change.. Now that we know the situation, we are looking forward to going there and to seeing what they will do with the IKEA Foundation donation, knowing that we are the second biggest donor just after the European Union.

And we have to continue to work that way because more than 30,000 people depend on julien DSCN2139 (2)