Rohingyas in Bangladesh observe ‘Genocide Day’ on 5th anniversary of exodus
Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Aug 25 (EFE).- Thousands of Rohingyas observed Genocide Day in Bangladesh camps on Thursday, marking the fifth anniversary of the start of the mass exodus to the country and demanding their safe and dignified return to Myanmar.
Rohingyas gathered in different parts of the camps, holding banners and placards underlining their demands, which included justice for the atrocities committed on them by the Myanmar military in the country’s Rakhine State in 2017.
“We want Bangladesh and the international community to support and work on our return with justice and rights,” read one of the placards in Camp 1 East, at Lambasia, Ukhiya in Cox’s Bazar.
“Enough is Enough; We want the ICC (International Criminal Court) to bring the perpetrators to accountability; Genocide never again,” read other placards.
Korban Ali, a 70-year old Rohingya refugee, broke down recalling the horrors of the military crackdown that forced him to flee to Bangladesh, leaving all his belongings behind.
“They (Myanmar Army) pushed us away to Bangladesh, killed many of us and kept many others hostage in Myanmar. It has been five years I could not go back and see my motherland,” said Ali, standing in a corner and watching the protest, led by younger members of the community.
Many Rohingya children were carrying Myanmar flag in their hands during the protest.
“Myanmar is my country. I want to go back there,” said 15-year old Faizul Islam.
Mohammad Selim, 28, said they observed the rally not to just protest and seek justice but also to remind the youth about their rights.
“Myanmar Army tortured our young people, killed many, raped our women and burnt our house and did not spare our children. We cannot forget what happened to us for a single day,” said Selim, who teaches at a learning centre in the Rohingya camp.
“For us every day is a Genocide Day. Yet we are especially holding this program today to remind young Rohingyas what they (the Myanmar army) did to us. We are also holding this program to remind the world our rights and get justice,” he said.
Around 936,000 Rohingya refugees have left neighboring Myanmar for Bangladesh, including 774,000 who survived a wave of violence and persecution by the Myanmar military in August 2017.
The crackdown has invited allegations of ethnic cleansing and genocidal intent against the Myanmar military.
Two attempts start their repatriation to Myanmar failed as the Rohingyas refused to return without guarantees of citizenship and safety. EFE