25 September 2019 | The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has been banned from Rohingya refugee camps near the Cox’s Bazar area of Bangladesh close to the Myanmar border.
The aid organization was accused by the Bangladesh government of encouraging the Rohingya refugees to resist efforts to repatriate them to Myanmar, a majority-Buddhist country where they face persecution.
The Washington Post reports that ADRA was also accused of financing a protest marking the second anniversary of Rohingya expulsion from Myanmar. The rally also called on the Myanmar government to support repatriation of Rohingya refugees to the country by giving them a path to citizenship. ADRA was accused of giving the refugees clothes related to the rally.
ADRA denied these allegations and said that while donors had given camp members T-shirts “for visibility,” they were not meant for the rally.
Iqbal Hassan, an ADRA field monitoring officer said that ADRA had “no role in repatriation efforts or even a role in counseling Rohingya for or against repatriation.”
He added that ADRA employed 5,000 Rohingya on projects in which they built pathways and bridges and repaired monsoon damage. He said that these refugees will now lose their livelihood.
Tensions are growing in Bangladesh as the country took in 750,000 Rohingya refugees two years ago after a military crackdown in Myanmar against the group. The Washington Post reported that Bangladesh is running out of patience with the refugees after failed attempts to convince some of them to repatriate.
ADRA is the humanitarian arm of the Adventist denomination.