Ethnic Cleansing in Bangladesh?

The following is an urgent action appeal from my friends at (Burma)Buddhist Relief.  It tells of an attack in Bangladesh on the Buddhist minority there.

Human Rights Abuse against Indigenous People in Bangladesh
An Urgent Appeal for Protection

On February 19-20, 2010, members of the Bangladesh army and illegal Bengali settlers attacked fourteen villages of the indigenous Jumma people in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHTs) in Bangladesh. In these pre-planned attacks, at least 200 houses, seven shops, a UNDP-sponsored villagecenter, Buddhist temples, and a church were burned to the ground.

After the settlers began torching the buildings, the army opened fire, killing at least six Jumma villagers and injuring at least twenty-five. Many others are missing.
To add insult to injury, six injured Jumma villagers who were admitted to Baghaichari hospital werearrested. The army claims that the attacks were actually
a clash between ethnic groups, that the soldiers firedonly blanks, and that the fires were set by the villagers themselves. All of these claims are patently false. Sixvillagers were killed, the villagers would not destroy their own homes, and no settlers were injured.

Because of the attacks, about 1,500 Jummas, whose houses were burned, are still taking refuge in the jungle. Since their food supplies were also destroyed, they are close to starvation, but no relief has been provided.

In order to prevent the truth from coming out, curfew has been imposed in the district. The Bangladesh army personnel have prevented journalists and human rights activists from visiting the affected areas. On February 20, two journalists from Bengali newspapers tried to enter the villages, but they were attacked by the illegal settlers, and one reporter’s motorcycle was burned.

These latest attacks are part of a drive by Bengalis, backed by the Bangladesh Army, to take over land owned by the indigenous Jumma people, which has been going on since 2005. The villagers have repeatedly lodged complaints, but nothing has
been done to stop the illegal settlers.

For a full report of the attacks, and the background of the struggle, please see the AsianHuman Rights Commission report “Bangladesh IPs Massacred for Land Grab” at

Click to access CHT012010.pdf

For more information, please contact Buddhist Relief Mission

Please send brief, politely-worded letters urging justice and protection for the persecuted Jumma villagers of the Chittagong
Hill Tracts in Bangladesh.

Please ask that their lives and homes be protected and that their rights ensured. Send your letters to:

Mrs. Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister
Government of the People’s Republic of
Office of the Prime Minister
Tejgaon, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Ms. Renata Lok Dessallien
UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh

Ms. Navanethem Pillay
,United Nations High Commissioner for
Human Rights
Human Rights Council and Treaties Division
Complaint Procedure
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

High Commission of Bangladesh in
Sri Lanka
286 Bauddhaloka Mawatha
Colombo 7, Sri Lanka
Embassy of Bangladesh in the
United States
3510 International Drive, NW D.C. 20008
Washington DC, United States

High Commission of Bangladesh in the
United Kingdom
28 Queen’s Gate,
London SW7 5JA, United Kingdom

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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3 Responses to Ethnic Cleansing in Bangladesh?

  1. Pingback: Ethnic Cleansing in Bangladesh? « Eslkevin's Blog

  2. eslkevin says:

    NEWS FROM BURMA, where many refugees flee from:

    ANJALI KAMAT: Shirin Ebadi, you’re here in New York. You also attended a tribunal regarding crimes in Burma. Can you talk about what you heard? What was the testimony you heard from women who testified?

    SHIRIN EBADI: [translated] What the women of Burma testified at the tribunal was horrible. They said how they had been raped sexually by the Burmese soldiers. And when they brought a complaint, they were the ones who were punished, due to defaming the army. They told us that, how they’re being trafficked to China, and there was no court to hear their case. What we heard states that crimes against humanity and also war crimes are being committed in Burma. And the recommendations of the judges—I, myself, being one of them—was that the Security Council of the United Nations refer the Burma case to the International Criminal Court, so that the crimes that have happened in Burma are heard, and punishment and judgment is issued.

  3. eslkevin says:

    Check out the article below which chronicles the humanitarian
    disaster that Myanmar Muslims are facing at the hands of both
    the Bengali and Myanmar governments.

    Quote of the day: “Justice delayed is justice denied”

    Myanmar refugees ‘starving to death’ in Bangladesh

    By Cat Barton (AFP) – Mar 8, 2010

    DHAKA – Bangladesh is waging a campaign of arbitrary arrest, illegal expulsion, forced internment and starvation against Muslim refugees from neighbouring Myanmar, according to a report released Tuesday.

    Tens of thousands of unregistered Rohingya refugees, many of whom have lived in Bangladesh for decades, have been forced into makeshift camps where they are being left to starve to death, the report by Physicians for Human Rights says.

    “It is unconscionable to leave this vulnerable population stateless and starving,” said Richard Sollom, PHR director of research and investigations.

    “Haiti after the recent earthquake had an acute child malnutrition rate of six percent, in the Rohingya camps the rate is 18.2 percent — three times higher but with no aid,” he added.

    Described by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted minorities on Earth, thousands of Rohingya from Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state stream across the border into Muslim-majority Bangladesh every year.

    Bangladesh recognises 28,000 Rohingya as registered refugees, who live and receive aid at an official UN camp in Kutupalong. This figure is a fraction of the 200,000 to 300,000 unofficial refugees, according to government estimates.

    The report said the crackdown is an apparent attempt to dissuade any more refugees fleeing to Bangladesh ahead of elections in Myanmar later this year.

    The police are “systematically rounding up, jailing or summarily expelling these unregistered refugees across the Burmese (Myanmar) border in flagrant violation of the country’s human rights obligations,” the report said.

    Up to 10,000 unregistered Rohingya, many of whom have lived in Bangladesh for years, have moved to the makeshift camps since January, local police say.

    The crackdown has “quarantined” the unregistered refugees in the camps, which surround the official UN-run facility, and the report said they were effectively “an open air prison.”

    “This confinement, coupled with the Bangladeshi government’s refusal to allow unregistered refugees access to food aid, presents an untenable situation: refugees are being left to die from starvation,” it said.

    The PHR report follows two other reports, one by lobby group the Arakan Project and one by Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), which also criticised the crackdown.

    “The European Union is very concerned at the humanitarian situation. For those with no access to any food programme, the situation is grim,” MEP Jean Lambert, who led a recent visit to the refugee camps, told AFP.

    The Bangladeshi government on Sunday dismissed media reports relating to undocumented Myanmar nationals in Bangladesh as “baseless and malicious.”

    It views the Rohingya as economic migrants and maintains they must be repatriated.

    “We are arresting illegal Rohingya and pushing them back over the border. It is an ongoing operation,” said Rafiqul Islam, chief of the local police in Kutupalong, on the Myanmar border.

    Myanmar refugees ‘starving to death’ in Bangladesh

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