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The rohignya people: a story of struggle and overcoming

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

Cox's Bazar has become the most populous refugee camp in the world, home to nearly a million Rohignyas who have fled the violence in Burma.

Rohingyas are an ethnic minority coming from northern Burma who for more than a decade have been persecuted and expelled for being Muslims. Due to the violence to which they have been exposed, they have been forced to take refuge in refugee camps in Bangladesh.

In 1992, about 14,000 people arrived in the Bangladeshi refugee camps near Cox's Bazar, fleeing repression and violence in search of a future for their family and themselves, far from hate. Decades later and thousands more displaced, nothing has changed.

In August 2017, violence erupted in Rakhine State, forcing nearly 800,000 people to seek safety in Bangladesh. According to testimonials collected by the United Nations, the Rohignya people were exposed to extrajudicial executions, rape and other types of sexual violence, torture, and the destruction of homes and entire villages, as a result of military operations.

There weren’t considerations, they wanted to drive out an entire town, including houses, fields, crops or cattle, while through a megaphone they were repeated that they did not belong in Rakhine.

Most of the refugees arrived in Cox's Bazar during the first three months of the crisis, about 600,000 people, and it is estimated that at least 12,000 arrived during the first half of 2018. The vast majority were women, girls and boys, as well as older people who required additional help and protection.

The camp went from hosting over 30,000 people to becoming the largest refugee camp in the world, and that is due to the stateless condition in which the Rohignya people are located. Burma, the city where most were born, does not consider them citizens and uses violence against them, facing certain death if they decide to stay. However, when they arrive at Cox's Bazar, they live in overcrowded conditions, with unfortunate hygienic conditions and depending solely on international and local solidarity.

Despite everything, the Rohignya generations - from the first to the last - make the best of their situation and try to live a full and happy life, because despite everything, in Bangladesh no one persecutes them because of their religion.

That is the reason why it is considered that the Rohignya people are one of the most vulnerable in the world, as they are exposed to violence in their own country and living conditions that leave much to be desired. In addition, due to its location, Cox's Bazar is exposed to storms that often devastate towns and destroy shelters. The passage of the last cyclone, Cyclone Mocha, has destroyed at least 500 shelters in just two days and has claimed the lives of six people.

The Rohignya need help urgently, and you can help them by making a donation through Save the Children or UNHCR, who fight so that refugees have a dignified life in which there is no lack of food, home, health and education.

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