Bangladesh urged to reopen Rohingya community schools
Dhaka, Apr 28 (EFE).- A group of 25 rights and non-profit organizations on Thursday urged Bangladesh authorities to reopen Rohingya community schools and take steps to support the community-led learning facilities in its refugee camps.
The organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, among others, claimed that about 30 community-led schools have been shut down or dismantled by the authorities since December 2021.
The closure of community learning facilities in the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar is detrimental to the community’s development and a gross violation of children’s right to education which puts them at the risk of becoming a lost generation, the nonprofits said in a joint statement.
Children constitute 51 per cent of 926,561 Rohingyas currently living in the refugee camps in Bangladesh, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Around 738,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh after a campaign of persecution and violence launched by the Myanmar military in August 2017, termed ethnic cleansing and possible genocide by the United Nations.
The organizations noted that Rohingya children have been deprived of access to education in an accredited curriculum since fleeing to Bangladesh.
In January 2020, Bangladesh’s government made a promise to introduce the Myanmar curriculum for about 10,000 children from grades six to nine.
The Rohingya community has been offering education to their children through the community schools due to a delay in the rollout of the program.
Rohingya refugees alleged that some schoolteachers were detained by the Armed Police Battalion and only released after signing a document promising to stop teaching.
“It is not a crime to teach students and show them the right path of life. It is a basic human right,” the organizations quoted a Rohingya community teacher as saying in the statement.
Rights groups said they have received complaints about the authorities threatening to confiscate identification cards of refugees and relocating them to the remote Bhasan Char island if they violate the ban on operating or attending community schools.
“All that the community wants is formal education that will be useful to continue studying in Myanmar,” said a Rohingya youth, whose identity was not disclosed for his safety.
The 25 rights and non-profit organizations called on Bangladesh’s government to ensure access to education for all Rohingya children, granting legal status to community schools in line with their international commitments.
The Bangladesh authorities have denied having shutting down any of the community schools.
“This allegation is completely false,” Shamsud Douza, deputy refugee relief and repatriate commissioner of Bangladesh, told EFE.
“We did not stop any community school for there is no community school here. Only few coaching centers were closed. UNICEF runs community-based learning facilities. What they are telling is lie,” he said. EFE