The Observers

Bangladesh: Rohingya camps enclosed with barbed wire to 'punish refugees'

Our Observer detailed the dangers of barbed wire enclosed camps for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
Our Observer detailed the dangers of barbed wire enclosed camps for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. © Observers

Since late 2019, the Bangladeshi government has installed fences and barbed wire around several camps in Cox's Bazar, where over 800,000 Rohingya refugees reside. In May 2021, after several fires resulted in a total of at least 15 deaths in the region, a collective was formed on Twitter to campaign against these fences and the danger they pose to refugees. 

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'It's a very heavy-handed way to treat people who have experienced genocide'

Our Observer, Shafiur Rahman, participates in the online "Remove the Fence" campaign from London:  

What has been erected are barbed wire pillars and barbed wire itself, as well as concertina razor wire. These are very difficult to negotiate, and children find them a very attractive thing, because they're all rolled up. Children want to crawl inside and play. They have nowhere to play, that's why they get cut when they go inside.
The installation took no cognizance of what would make certain services accessible or less accessible. People have had to shift their homes in order to be in the barbed wire area. They have to walk much longer distances. Going to the clinic has become a very difficult task for elderly people, infirm people, pregnant women. It's punishing refugees. It's a very heavy-handed way to treat people who have experienced genocide and who are as vulnerable as they are.