Evidencing the experience of violence and loss of dignity among the forcibly displaced Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Kate Williams, Md Palash Kamruzzaman, Ali Wardak, Mohammad Ehsanul Kabir, Emma Chivers, Bulbul Siddiqi, Mohammad Yaseen Ayobi

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Abstract

This research offers a detailed account of the Rohingya peoples’ experience of exclusion, discrimination and violence in Myanmar and their journey to Bangladesh to escape that violence and how/whether this has contributed to the loss of their dignity. It also documents their experiences of living as a forcibly displaced group in Bangladesh (since they are not officially recognised by Bangladesh as refugees) and the extent to which their dignity has been restored before going on to consider medium- and long-term solutions for the crisis they find themselves in. It is important to note that the Government of Bangladesh does not officially recognise the Rohingyas as refugees. However, the international community, certainly the UN has extended them refugee status. The Rohingyas themselves often refer to themselves as refugees. This report will generally identify them as refugees though may also use the term displaced Rohingya.

The field research highlights what realistic changes would make a positive difference to leading safe and peaceful lives for the Rohingya. In essence they need a permanent home where they will be awarded full citizenship and treated with dignity, justice and equality and be supported out of poverty and to re-build their lives and positive communities. In doing so, it is necessary to recognise and address issues that are important to the dignity and well-being of those being helped. It is thus imperative to understand what the Rohingya refugees perceive as dignity (or its loss) and how it underpins their calls for supporting their future.

The main objectives of this research focused on understanding:
• the pattern of oppressions the Rohingya experienced in Myanmar before 2017;
• the nature of violence experienced by the Rohingya in 2017 in Myanmar: the causes of their displacement and their displacement journey;
• how the Rohingya conceptualise their sense of dignity, and loss of dignity;
• the socioeconomic conditions the Rohingya are living in and the impact of displacement and delivery of assistance on the physical and psychological wellbeing of the Rohingya and on their dignity in the camps;
• the conceptualisations of dignity among those working to deliver aid to the Rohingya refugees and among Bangladesh Government representatives and their experiences of providing assistance;
• ways in which dignity might be improved and how they might find medium-to long-term solutions to the Rohingya refugee crisis in Cox’s Bazar as suggested by respondents from the Rohingya camps, international humanitarian aid organisations and representatives of the Government of Bangladesh; and
• how to begin to deliver durable solutions which are meaningful to the Rohingya - to recommend actionable policy recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages200
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Keywords

  • Rohingyas
  • displacement
  • displacement journey
  • Myanmar
  • Bangladesh
  • dignity

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