Eid Al-Fitr offers little respite to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

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Over 1.15 million Rohingya are living in camps at Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. (AN photo)
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Over 1.15 million Rohingya are living in camps at Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. (AN photo)
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Over 1.15 million Rohingya are living in camps at Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. (AN photo)
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Over 1.15 million Rohingya are living in camps at Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. (AN photo)
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Over 1.15 million Rohingya are living in camps at Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. (AN photo)
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Over 1.15 million Rohingya are living in camps at Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. (AN photo)
Updated 05 June 2019

Eid Al-Fitr offers little respite to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

  • Bangladesh’s government has allotted around 6,500 acres to establish the refugee camps, but space is still tight
  • Different aid agencies have also come up with special offerings to make the festival a little more colorful to the Rohingya

DHAKA: Three years ago, Arifa Bibi would have had her hands full on Eid.

With hordes of relatives and friends thronging to her humble home in Rakhine province, Myanmar, she would be busy in the kitchen whipping up delicacies.

Little did she know then that she would one day find herself struggling to make ends meet as a Rohingya refugee at a makeshift camp in Bangladesh. 

In the 34 camps at Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, hundreds of Rohingya remain stranded following a spate of violence in Myanmar. However, estrangement from their motherland fails to dampen their spirits on Eid. 

Just a couple of days before Eid, the Rohingya were busy making preparations to celebrate the occasion. 

Bangladesh’s government has allotted around 6,500 acres to establish the refugee camps, but space is still tight. “This refugee camp is highly congested and there is no open area available for Eid congregation. So, we have made preparations to offer the Eid prayers inside the mosque,” Abu Solaiman, a refugee from Balukhali camp, told Arab News.

There are more than 550,000 Rohingya children who are deprived of playgrounds and basic recreational pursuits for lack of space. Nevertheless, Rohingya children at Cox’s Bazar have figured out their own ways to turn Eid into a memorable occasion.

“On this Eid, there will be a fair inside the camps which has a merry-go-round and some other amusement materials for the kids,” Humayun Kabir, a Rohingya child at Kutupalang camp, told Arab News.

Halima Sheikh another refugee girl from the same camp, also expressed her excitement over the Eid fair.

“I have asked my father for some money for Eid shopping at the fair along with my friends. I plan to purchase cosmetics for me and my mother,” she said.

At the end of Ramadan, Rohingya women are now trying their best to prepare special dishes as a part of Eid tradition.

Different aid agencies have also come up with special offerings to make the festival a little more colorful to the Rohingya.

“We have provided a special Eid package which includes aromatic rice, lentils, milk, sugar, vermicelli, etc., to several hundred Rohingya families. We also received some Zakat funds from a nonresident Bangladeshi to run one of our health posts in the refugee camps,” said Nazrul Islam, country manager of UK-based aid agency Global One.

Another Bangladeshi aid agency, BRAC, has also provided food packages. “We have supported 2,500 Rohingya families with special food aid, including meat, oil and spices,” Khaled Morshed, head of the humanitarian response program at BRAC, told Arab News.

The authorities in Bangladesh have also beefed up security in and around the refugee camps to ensure peace during the festival.

“We have deployed around 1,100 police in and around the refugee camps to ensure round-the-clock vigilance,” Iqbal Hossain, additional superintendent of police at Cox’s Bazar, told Arab News.


UN adopts new voting procedure during COVID-19 pandemic

Updated 36 min 3 sec ago

UN adopts new voting procedure during COVID-19 pandemic

  • Ambassadors from the 193 U.N. member nations will cast secret ballots at a designated venue during spaced-out time slots
  • The Security Council has five permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — and 10 elected members

UNITED NATIONS: The U.N. General Assembly adopted a new voting procedure Friday for the upcoming election of new members of the Security Council aimed at preventing a large gathering and ensuring social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead of meeting in the horseshoe-shaped assembly chamber at U.N. headquarters overlooking New York’s East River, ambassadors from the 193 U.N. member nations will cast secret ballots at a designated venue during spaced-out time slots.
And they will be voting not only for five non-permanent members of the Security Council to serve two-year terms but for 18 new members of the 54-nation Economic and Social Council to serve three-year terms.
According to the new procedure, the president of the General Assembly will send a letter to all member states at least 10 working days before the first round of secret balloting for the two elections to inform them of the date, venue where ballots should be cast, and other relevant information.
The Security Council election had been scheduled for June 17, but it’s unclear whether that will remain the date.
The Security Council has five permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — and 10 members elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms. Five countries are elected every year.
The council is the U.N.’s most powerful body and winning a seat is a pinnacle of achievement for many countries because it gives them a strong voice on issues of international peace and security ranging from conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Ukraine to the nuclear threat posed by North Korea and Iran, and attacks by extremist groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaida.
This year seven countries are vying for five seats, and there are two hotly contested races.
In the group of Western nation, Canada, Ireland and Norway are battling for two seats, and in Africa, Kenya and Djibouti are competing for one seat. India is running unopposed for the Asia-Pacific seat and Mexico is running unopposed for the seat for Latin America and the Caribbean.