By Faruk Zorlu
Bangladesh has sent troops in Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar city as forced repatriation to Myanmar fuels fear among refugees, the Guardian reported Wednesday.
The repatriation of more than 2,200 Rohingya refugees to Myanmar will begin on Nov. 15, amid claims by the Bangladesh government that it is voluntary.
However, refugees who spoke to the Guardian said many Rohingya families have gone into hiding.
Qatar, 29, who goes only by his first name, said: "Many families, even those not among the list approved for return by Myanmar, had gone into hiding."
"The army is in every corner of the Jamtoli and Hakimpara camps, sitting and checking people and not letting them move between camps.
"People are too afraid to leave their houses or eat. Some left our block at midnight using secret paths for other camps, especially Kutupalong, where there is not so much fear about repatriation."
Jani, 30, said security has doubled inside the camps in the last two days.
“When the sun sets the security teams come to every entry point in the camps and they don’t leave till the morning. People are running away and spending days and nights in the forest or other camps," he said.
UN Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday urged the Bangladesh government to halt plans for the repatriation saying it would put the lives of refugees at stake and violate international law.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience."
Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly children, and women, fled Myanmar and crossed into neighboring Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.
The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.