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Archives (15th April 2018): Going to Bangladesh: refugees on my mind

Holiday time is over, and I am gearing up with preparations of my trip to Bangladesh. While still in Bangkok, and spending some quality time with Tahir (making sure that he is fine for the duration of my visit to Bangladesh), I am doing readings of the latest reports from the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar region in Bangladesh.

You may well remember that Bangladesh is home to around 1,000,000 Rohingya refugees, who keep on fleeing persecution from their home authorities. The Rohingya treatment by the Myanmar authorities is widely documented and presented by various international and local human rights groups/organisations - most of them accusing the Myanmar authorities for committing major crimes against humanity (in some cases, even accusing the authorities to being guilty of committing war crimes).
Yet, the Rohingya in Bangladesh still suffer a lot. Despite a fact that the authorities of Bangladesh are trying to do what they can to help, having 1,000,000 people who are desperately poor, arriving to the country, which faces lots of issues relating to overcrowding and extreme poverty of its own residents, is overwhelming, to say the least. So the work of the humanitarian agencies working in the camps is still mainly focusing on trying to find solutions to help the refugees and the indigenous population of Bangladesh to simply survive. When I write ‘survive’ I genuinely mean it: it is about having access to water, food, basic health, basic sanitation… It is not yet about bringing comforts, we are really talking about bare necessities.

Even if working in camps around Cox’s Bazar is often depressing, I love being there, and I truly enjoy working in Bangladesh. The misery that one witnesses in the camps also displays a different side of humanity: it shows how wonderful the humans can be to one another in desperate situations. Perhaps, from my perspective, it sounds arrogant to write (as I do have anything I may possibly need to lead a comfortable life), but seeing people sacrificing themselves to support one another, gives hope that we are still capable of being kind to one another, even in an environment that is seemingly hopeless. So, as I am a bit scared of what I am about to experience in Bangladesh. I am full of hope and enthusiasm too.

As usual, I will write about what I experience soon. Until this happens, sending to all of you my sincere regards!