What is happening in Bangladesh and how is the country coping?

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For the past few years, Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have been driven out of their homes, forced to make the long, perilous journey to Bangladesh, but what happens once they arrive, and how have Bangladesh dealt with the sudden flood of refugees?

In contrast to what happened with the flood of refugees to Europe, similar in number, where countries complained and started to become anti-refugee and immigration, Bangladesh has welcomed the Rohingya into their country with open arms and have given them a home, for the present. Though it is already one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with approximately 1,150 people per square kilometre, it has taken in more than half a million Rohingya Muslims. A vast influx of highly traumatised refugees from the neighbouring country have settled down in ‘the largest refugee camp in the world’ in the south-eastern Bangladeshi city, Cox’s Bazar. This generosity is at the cost of Bangladesh’s financial position, to accommodate the refugees costs at least US$1 billion per year. Another sign of their kindness is how they have postponed the repatriation program because they are concerned about the safety of the refugees. Consequently this could put their country in financial difficulty.

In refugee camps, the fleeing Rohingya receive food, shelter, schooling and safety, which they did not have access to in Myanmar. They also have the opportunity to live in a sanitised environment; this would be a drastic change for the refugees, who may not previously even have had access to everyday items such as toothpaste. However, this comes with a cost, a burden that Bangladesh must carry. This is problematic as the country faces other problems aside from financial instability.

One such trouble is the threat of radicalisation to the Rohingya refugees. In the past, extremist groups have attempted to recruit Rohingya Muslims. They are vunerable as they have just been evicted from their homes and have a lot of anger. As well as this, the local population has started to complain as costs rise and job availability is limited, which, with potential national elections next year, is very worrying for the current government in office. Another looming problem is flooding. The refugee camp are underprotected if the amount of rainfall rises, which could cause chaos. There is then the possibility of contagious diseases spreading. With so many people packed together closely, just having arrived from a long, hazardous journey on which they may have picked up illnesses, the chance of a plague of a dangerous ailment is highly likely.

All this kindness is coming with a cost. Surrounding countries have not offered to help, and President Modi of India has even publicly expressed his support for Myanmar in the crisis. With no assistance except from charitable organisations, Bangladesh are in deep financial trouble as more and more Rohingya refugees cross the border into Cox's Bazar. This hospitality has gained them othng but respect - are they just being kind, or is their another reason?

As the financial stability of Bangladesh teeters closere and closer to the edge of poverty, the question many are begging to ask is: What is fuelling Bangladesh's benevolence and why?

Comments (6)

  • Olivia-Avatar.jpg Olivia @ the BNC
    11 Oct 2018

    Wow! Benevolent chocolate, this is a really impressive post for a number of reasons. Before I get into them, and I'm sorry to be sceptical, but is it all your own work? I think it's great, and would like to provide some feedback if so! If not, please link to where you found the information from.

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  • Graveney-logo-250x250.jpg beloved_chocolate | Graveney School
    13 Oct 2018

    This is my own work but I got information from lots of different websites. I like to go on lots of different websites so I can see more than one point of view, before forming an opinion.

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    1. Olivia-Avatar.jpg Olivia @ the BNC
      beloved_chocolate's comment 15 Oct 2018

      Good stuff! It's a really well written post, it reminds me of something you might find in The Economist! You've listed lots of problems for Bangladesh here and have then asked a rhetorical question about the reason behind Bangladesh's kindness. I'd like to turn this around on you! What do you think? Is there another reason for why they are doing this? What might motivate a country to take in refugees? Is there any history between the countries that might have led to this? Another, perhaps more difficult question, is what would the alternative be?

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  • Graveney-logo-250x250.jpg beloved_chocolate | Graveney School
    15 Oct 2018

    There are many theories I have to why Bangladesh is being so kind to the Rohingya refugees.

    One reason is that Bangladesh has a history and tradition of hospitality, which they may be carrying on.

    Another interesting reason is the religion. Both the Rohingya and the majority of people in Bangladesh are Muslim, and this may have encouraged them to help them. Many of the local Bangladeshi people have called the Rohingya their 'Muslim brothers and sisters'.

    I believe that Bangladesh may have taken in the Rohingya as they are vey similar to lots of people in Bangladesh. They speak a dialect similar the that spoken just over the border in Cox's Bazaar; they follow the same religion and they are thought to have been descended from Bangladeshi traders or nomads.

    In the past Bangladesh have had fairly genial relationship with Myanmar. When the military junta was in power of Myanmar in 2011, Bangladesh had strong trade relations with them, though not so much anymore. The prejudice against the Rohingya and the size of the influx of refugees has caused tensions between the countries, and Bangladesh now has many less trade agreements with Myanmar than the other countries bordering the Buddhist country: China, Laos, Thailand, India and Tibet.

    Bangladesh may have been so kind to the Rohingya to oppose the persecutors, some Myanmarese Buddhists. In 2016, Bangladesh accused the Myanmarese navy of attacking a group of Bangladeshi fishermen, which led to a formal argument and protest. The government of Bangladesh may still be angry about this, however it is unlikely that this is the reason because this hospitality is seriously threatening their financial stability, and, if they had any common sense, they would not put themselves in such a precarious position to spite a group who put four people's lives in danger.

    However, despite controversy and reasoning, Bangladesh may be doing this hage humanitarian act purely out of kindness and concern for the lives of others.

    Countries may take in refugees for a number of reasons. One, they may do it just out of benevolence, or for necessity if they do not have the means to get the refugees out of their country. They may also take in refugees because they have signed a treaty or agreement stating that they have to. Also, some countries may do this because they have good past relations with the people who are fleeing, or bad relations with those who are forcing them out.

    The alternative would be that Bangladesh deport the refugees back to Myanmar or call on neighbouring countries for help in accommodating them. However, if countries do not except the refugees, they may have to use the first option as they may have no choice. Although they may be reluctant to do this, it might be the only thing possible to keep their country from falling into financial and other difficulties, as a government should always put their country first.

    I hope that this will not be needed and that Myanmar and Bangladesh will reach an agreement so that the Rohingya Muslims can move back into their country without being in fear of their lives.

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  • Hanson-logo-250x250.jpg healthy_coyote | Hanson Academy
    10 Dec 2018

    Bangladesh have been very considerate towards the rohingya muslims and we should appreciate it even more because they are suffering from overpopulation

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