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Bangladesh

    April 24, 2020

    Today marks the seven-year anniversary of the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory building in Bangladesh, which tragically left more than 1,100 workers dead and thousands more injured. Covid-19 has created new threats to the lives and livelihoods of garment workers.

    Standing in solidarity with Bangladesh garment sector workers, and with garment sector workers in all countries, Amnesty International joins Canadian labour and civil society organizations in urging Canadian brands, retailers, and the Canadian government, to address workers rights.

    Here is our joint statement:

    Protect the women who make our clothes: Canada’s unions and civil society organizations call for action

    Seven years after the tragic Rana Plaza building collapse, Bangladesh garment sector workers now confront even more risk and vulnerability in the fight against Covid-19.

    Canada’s unions and civil society organizations are calling for immediate relief for workers and protection of rights in global supply chains.

    April 06, 2020
    Older refugees are both the most at risk from the pandemic and the least included in the humanitarian response Dangerous lack of access to even basic information Mistakes made during general humanitarian response efforts for Rohingya refugees are being repeated

    Older Rohingya refugees in overcrowded camps in Bangladesh are being left behind in the humanitarian response to COVID-19, which could have devastating consequences given the high risks older people everywhere face from this deadly pandemic, Amnesty International said today.

    January 30, 2020

    Last week, in the lead up to the International Day of Education, Amnesty International once again pressed the government of Bangladesh and the international community to address the continuing failure to provide education to Rohingya refugee children, and the lack of educational opportunities for many children in host communities near the refugee camps in Bangladesh.

    What a difference a week makes! On Tuesday, the Bangladeshi government announced it will open up the prospect of going to school for hundreds of thousands of refugee children who have been denied that right for years.

    It is tremendous news, and Canada is well-placed to work with Bangladesh to ensure that vital promise becomes reality.

    The International Day of Education draws attention to the vital role that education plays in advancing peace and development in our world. It is grounded in recognition that access to education is an important human right, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and numerous other international treaties adopted over the decades. Recognition as well, though, that around the world it is a right far too frequently violated and ignored.

    January 28, 2020

    The Bangladesh government has announced it will offer schooling and skills training opportunities to Rohingya refugee children, two and a half years after they were forced to flee crimes against humanity in Myanmar.

    Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have been campaigning for the nearly half a million Rohingya children in Bangladesh’s refugee camps to be allowed to enjoy their right to quality education, warning of the costs of a ‘lost generation’.

    “This is an important and very positive commitment by the Bangladeshi government, allowing children to access schooling and chase their dreams for the future. They have lost two academic years already and cannot afford to lose any more time outside a classroom,” said Saad Hammadi, South Asia Campaigner at Amnesty International.

    August 28, 2019
    Amnesty International urges Canada to lead on providing education for Rohingya youth, following new report

    Two years after a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign forced around 700,000 Rohingya to flee Myanmar for Bangladesh, refugees are still trapped in unbearable conditions in overcrowded camps, Amnesty International said in a new briefing.

    “I don’t know what my future will be”: Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh warns that a ‘lost generation’ of Rohingya children are being systematically denied an education in Bangladesh, and documents the sense of hopelessness and uncertainty expressed by many teachers, parents and young people in the camps.

    Amnesty International is calling on the Bangladeshi government to lift restrictions that limit the enjoyment of refugees’ rights. The organization also calls on the international community to support Bangladesh in pursuing longer-term solutions to help Rohingya refugees rebuild their lives.

    August 28, 2019

    Whether we asked about the possibility of going home to Myanmar or the challenges of life in Bangladesh, every Rohingya – old or young – who our Amnesty International delegation interviewed in the refugee camps said the same thing: human rights.

    With the release of our new report, “I Don’t Know What My Future Will Be”, Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh, Amnesty International is echoing that call and looking to the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh, with strong backing and resources from the international community, to ensure that violations end, past abuses are addressed and that the human rights of Rohingya, on both sides of the border, are fully respected and upheld. 

    It is a time for solidarity and for action.  There will be many opportunities for Amnesty International supporters to take action and demonstrate that solidarity over the coming weeks and months.

    March 12, 2019
    A young Rohingya girl named Bibi Ayeshi, wearing a black hijab and a white top sits in front of a multicolored background.

    By Kate Schuetze and Alex Neve

    Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

    Bibi Ayesha is a 15 year old Rohingya girl who  was born in Bangladesh. Her family fled Myanmar during a wave of human rights violations against the Rohingya community in 1992. They have never been given official refugee status in Bangladesh.  Her father, determined to ensure that education was accessible for his daughter, managed to enroll her in a local school near the Nayapara Refugee Camp where they live. 

    Earlier this year in January, however, the Bangladeshi government began strictly enforcing a long-standing policy that no Rohingya students would be allowed in local schools on the grounds that they are refugees and must go to schools in the camps.  However, the government does not allow formal schools in the camps, because they believe that will encourage refugees to remain in Bangladesh. The only options are the very basic Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) and Learning Centres, which mainly offer a place to play and some very rudimentary lessons.

    February 21, 2019
    Mohammed Ali is a 65 year-old farmer from the village of Kyein Chaung, in the Township of Maungdaw, in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. He and his family now live in the Balukhali Refugee Camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.
    Content warning: violence and violence causing death

    Balukhali Refugee Camp, Bangladesh

    “We’ve been through this before, but never like this.  Never so many people.  And now it feels like it might go on and on. It has been eighteen months, but it feels like forever.”

    Mohammed Ali, a 65-year-old farmer, was returning from his fields to his home in the village of Kyein Chaung, in the Township of Maungdaw, in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in early September, 2017.  And the attack began. The village was surrounded by government soldiers who began shooting at villagers and setting fire to houses as they advanced. The people of Kyein Chaung knew what was coming as they had already seen dead bodies floating down the stream from other neighbouring villages.

    “There was only one thing to do.  We knew we had to leave and we ran.  And fortunately, no one in our own family was injured or killed. But we heard cries around us.  We knew that could easily have been us. And it was only good luck that it was not.”

    February 11, 2019

    Dhaka, Bangladesh

    As I arrive in Bangladesh, joining an Amnesty International delegation that is here for two weeks to meet with and hear from Rohingya refugees in the country, a specific question comes to mind. In this world of ours – a world marked of late by far too much conflict, hate and division – when and why is a crisis no longer seen to be a crisis?

    In a world which feels to have an ever-shortening attention span and seems only able to give real attention to two or three emergencies at once, we forget and move on from today’s or this week’s crisis more quickly than ever.

    Meanwhile, politicians regularly bandy the word crisis about to inflame tensions and score political points when it isn’t a crisis by any measure; be it Donald Trump’s manufactured border wall crisis or the overblown rhetoric around a supposed-influx of refugees crossing the Canada/US border. We see quick resort to the word crisis in those situations, largely to undermine support for refugee protection.

    February 08, 2019

    Photos: Ahmer Khan (Twitter, Instagram) Words: Saad Hammadi, South Asia Campaigner (Twitter)

    The Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh have yet to come to terms with the trauma they had experienced in Myanmar. Ahmer Khan visited Cox’s Bazar to document in photographs the Rohingya people with what they held dearest to them during their troubled escape from home…writes Saad Hammadi

    Last November, when word spread of a possible repatriation of a few thousand Rohingya refugees, hundreds sought sanctuary in other camps in Cox’s Bazar to escape a forced return and avoid being identified.

    In the desperately overcrowded camps across Ukhiya in Cox’s Bazar, many Rohingya refugees have still not recovered from the trauma they experienced in Myanmar. That painful escape from home still haunts them.

    January 02, 2019

    Bangladesh’s authorities must investigate the ongoing violent attacks on journalists and activists ahead of the country’s 11th parliamentary elections due on 30 December 2018 and immediately release those journalists and activists who have been arrested arbitrarily, Amnesty International said today.

    Condemning the recent attack on journalists and activists, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner, Saad Hammadi said, “The authorities must impartially investigate these attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice. Such incidents are detrimental to a peaceful atmosphere for people to exercise their civil and political rights.”

    At least 12 journalists on duty to cover the elections at a Dhaka constituency came under attack and 16 vehicles carrying them were damaged by a group of 30-35 attackers on 24 December 2018. The guest house where the journalists were resting also came under attack.

    September 20, 2018

    Responding to the newly enacted Digital Security Act 2018 in Bangladesh which has drawn serious concerns for press freedom and the right to freedom of expression, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner, Saad Hammadi, said:

    “This law imposes dangerous restrictions on freedom of expression. Instead of learning from the lessons of the past, it seeks to repeat them. Given how the authorities have arbitrarily arrested hundreds of people in the past six years under the Information and Communication Technology Act, there are serious concerns that the new Act will be used against people who speak out.”

    “The government’s disregard for editors’ recommendations and the concerns of the general public shows lack of concern for the grave issues regarding the bill that have been raised by civil society. The government must revert its course from this regressive law, that compromises its international commitments; and ensure they fully uphold the right to freedom of expression as protected by international human rights law.”

    Background

    August 17, 2018

    The Bangladeshi authorities must end the crackdown on protests that has swept up nearly 100 people, Amnesty International said today.

    Two weeks after thousands of school students came out on to the streets of Dhaka, demanding safer roads after two students were killed by a speeding bus, a pall of fear has descended on civil society with protestors being subject to intense surveillance online and arbitrary arrests.

    “The Bangladeshi authorities must end this crackdown and release all protestors who were peacefully exercising their human rights. The students were overwhelmingly peaceful, and only a tiny minority of people were involved in violence. Their actions must not become a pretext for an attack on civil society where dissent is punished and people live in fear that they will be arrested next,” said Omar Waraich, Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director.

    March 12, 2018

    Responding to the news that UN officials have called for nearly $1bn (USD) in assistance for the nearly one million Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar District, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director, Biraj Patnaik, said:

    “The money is urgently needed to help the Rohingya refugees to be able to live in safe and adequate living conditions in the camps in Bangladesh. This is not a short-term crisis and there is little prospect of them being able to return to their homes in Rakhine State any time soon.

    “As the monsoon season looms, there is a great risk of landslides and floods striking the camps. The threat of diseases, such as diphtheria, measles and cholera, has to be aggressively combated with mass vaccinations and appropriate sanitation. The refugees also need food, clean water and healthcare. The needs of the local host communities, which have been severely affected, must also be carefully considered.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

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