By The Stateless Rohingya
When misery strikes, it strikes thrice for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
KUTUPALONG: For more than 42,000 Rohingya refugees residing inside the congested and dreadful unregistered Kutupalong refugee camp, a felicitous life is a rare treasure, but misery in abundance, striking the hapless ones more than what they can bear its pain – Rohingya women.
Hasina Begum is one of the hapless women in her early 30s who fled the murderous and genocidal wave which is swiping off Rohingya from their native Arakan State in the western part of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) under the banner of race and religion. Without saying a proper farewell to her village where she along with her all ancestors were born, she left Khairi Farang, a tiny village in the northern Maungdaw township, assuming that she could find a safe haven in the neighbouring country, Bangladesh.
She was wrong in her assumption. There are more than 42,000 her fellow Rohingya estranged in the camp where some have spent their whole lives, some arrived after the onset of 2012 genocide against Rohingya in Arakan State and some made it to the camp as recently as yesterday.
Being a refugee in the unregistered camp hinders the progress of refugees in every aspects of life – failure to benefit with ration, shelter and medicine provided by UNHCR, risk to harassment and extortion of local gangs and politicians, and danger to arbitrary arrests and false-cases.
Unable to see a bright future for four children – one boy and three girls in the camp, her husband, Abul Kasim bravely took a pernicious boat journey to reach to the shores of either Malaysia or Thailand in 2012. The misery struck twice in the same year – losing family and relatives in the genocide in Myanmar and now she lost her husband in the sea or perhaps in the deep jungles between Malaysia and Thailand like hundreds of Rohingya Refugees women.
She took the jobs of dish-washing and chilli-mincing inside and outside the camp to support her four children. Due to the scarcity of job for Rohingya refugees, she too is forced to beg for food to keep her children alive.
Yet, the misery is not pleased with its wretchedness tormenting her.
In January 24, her shed was one of the 93 unregistered refugee sheds demolished in Block C by Bangladesh authorities, completely stripping off her family survival needs – shelter, food and water.
At the same time, the bitter winter is not taking a stance off, creating unbearable conditions for Hasina and her children. Her miserable conditions get worse after falling sick which makes her unable to find a job or beg for food and to build a temporary shed to shield her children from the winter nights.
Having no relatives living in Bangladesh and almost every unregistered refugees struggling to live with their respective miserable lives, the situations of Hasina and her children could take an abject toll unless some kind hearts provide helping hands.