Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports that Rohingya refugees are being subjected to police abuse in Bangladesh, where they have settled after fleeing repression in Myanmar.
The rights organisation said the Armed Police Battalion of Bangladesh (APBN) extorts, arbitrarily detains and harasses Rohingya refugees living in camps, such as the one in Cox’s Bazar district (southeast).
Security in the Cox’s Bazar camps “has deteriorated under APBN supervision due to increased police abuses and criminal activity” and violence by armed groups, HRW said in a statement.
The NGO points out that police abuses have exacerbated the “fear and vulnerability” of Rohingya refugees, who suffer cases of extortion of excessive sums of money to avoid arrest or the release of a detained family member.
“The Bangladeshi authorities must immediately investigate allegations of widespread extortion and unjust detention by officers of the Armed Police Battalion and hold all those responsible to account,” said the organisation’s Asia researcher, Shayna Bauchner.
Between 2016 and 2017, some 10,000 Rohingyas were killed and more than 700,000 have fled to Bangladesh as the Burmese army intensified its attacks on the Rohingyas, burning hundreds of Muslim homes and entire villages in Rajine state, according to the United Nations, which calls Myanmar’s treatment of the community “ethnic cleansing”.
In July, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) declared itself competent to try the genocide of the Rohingya Muslim minority by the Myanmar government.
But the suffering of the Rohingya is not over. In October, the United Nations warned of the possibility of more “heinous crimes” following the military coup against de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.