On Behalf of the Rohingya Christian Refugees:
To: UN Protection Officer
From: Rohingya Christians
Subject: Appeal for the Protection of the Wellbeing of Rohingya Christians’ Lives in Bangladesh Refugee Camps
With the utmost urgency, respect, and humility, I, Nurul Salam, am submitting a request for protection to you on behalf of Rohingya Christians. We are three hundred Rohingya Christian families currently living in the Kutupalong, Balukhali, Thankali, Jamtoli, Dhumdumia, Shamlapur, and Teknaf camps under the authorities of Bangladesh government, UNHCR, and IOM since 2017. Many Rohingya Christian families have come to Bangladesh and stayed as unregistered refugees since 2003, due to the Myanmar government persecutions. I am one of those Christians. My name is Nuru Salam, and I am 55 years old. I am now living in a Camp 2 in Kutupalong, and I have been serving as an elderly leader to these Rohingya Christian brothers and sisters since 2008.
Being of Rohingya ethnicity ourselves, we are all persecuted by the government of Myanmar, as you all are aware of this. The majority of Rohingyas are Muslims but there are some other religions too, such as Hindus, Christians, etc. However, Rohingya Christians are now having their rights violated by their communities, just because of their faith in Christ. Many other people from the camps, empowered and inspired by the leaders, including the camp Mazies and Imams, are threatening our physical safety almost everyday. Our children are terrified and cannot sleep at night because of the situation. We are now in fear for our lives. We beg you to ensure our protection. We, the Rohingya Christians, are requesting a safer place and environment for both us and our children.
For your information, we have recorded incidents of violence from 2014 that have been inflicted upon the Rohingya Christian community, and have presented just some of many occurances below, in order to give you an idea of the situation:
December 2014:: A Christian man named Taher from the Kutupalong camp was arrested by the police, with the reason being that he was a “Christian terrorist.” Even though he is a registered refugee, he was imprisoned as an illegal immigrant from Myanmar.
After that incident, the local leader Baktiar Ahmed, who was leading Rohingya camps, called one of our community school teachers, Forid, to the bazar. When Forid arrived, he was assaulted (beaten heavily on his back publicly at Kutupalong Bazar) and coerced to pay Baktiar Ahmed money.
Now Baktiar Ahmed was very threatening to me, Nuru Salam, and said that unless I gave him 50,000 Taka, I better leave the refugee camp together with all the Christian families. The situation was very tense. Just some weeks later, when I could not pay his ransom, if you will, Baktiar Ahmed had the police arrest me and the Forid. The police told us that we were accused of converting people to Christianity, which is totally and utterly false. As a result of this false accusation, we were sent to prison and charged as illegal immigrants from Myanmar. After 3-4 months later we all were finally released from prison with warnings.
March 12th, 2017: While we were in the prayer meeting a group of Rohingya Muslim came and attacked us. They came with rods, knife and with other weapons. They destroyed and ransacked our houses, they have taken away our things and beaten to our children and us. We were in hopelessness, neither we could go to the authorities for seeking help.
July 28th, 2018:A Rohingya Christian man named Zakir was called to a mosque and beaten so heavily to the point where he had to be admitted to the hospital by an Islamic terrorist group called Al-Yaqin, which many of you know as ARSA. This happened again around three months later in November 16th, where they abducted Zakir to the same mosque and beat him again in order to forcibly convert him to Islam. When he denied once more, they tied him up and planned to kill him after prayers. Fortunately, Zakir was able to escape during the time of the call to prayer.
The next morning, we went to the CIC and other authorities to lodge our grievances, but they refused to listen or help us. Instead, certain members of the Bangladeshi army took our Ration cards and withheld them for around three weeks, and detained anyone who would dare speak about the injustice.
December 13th, 2018: Some policemen and soldiers came to our houses in Camp 2, Block B1 and arrested 10-12 people from six different families, including myself. All of us are Christians. We wanted to know our crime, but they did not tell us anything. They took us to the Army headquarters in Camp 3, before releasing us that very evening on the same day.
January 15th, 2019: In the Thankhali Camp 36, Block C, one of our Christian brothers, Mazi Rahmot Ullah, was also abducted by the Al-Yaqin terrorist group. Even though we called for the police, the perpetrators escaped justice and were released that very night, despite the fact that the police were the ones who found Mazi.
January 17th, 2019:A picture of me and my son, Peter. was taken hiddenly during a marriage ceremony. The photo was published on Arakantv and Facebook without any justification whatsoever, for the sole purpose of allowing others to harass and threaten us with death, which is according Islamic law if we convert Muslims to Christians.
Today, March 15th, 2019: The Al-Yaqin are still threatening to kill us unless we leave the camp soon. Inspired by these criminals now some mosque Imams and Rohingya Muslims are demanding publicly in the camp that we Rohingya Christian cannot stay in the camp. They have published threatening videos about us on Youtube, where you can hear these threats on our lives for yourselves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m01I0IyS2QI
All these events are merely a small and inadequate representation of our daily circumstances. We need protection and justice. We cannot sleep at night in the fear of the Al-Yaqin attacks; and we cannot go out in the day in fear of police and army harassment and arrestings.
Just as much as Al-Yaqin wants us to leave, we also want to leave in order to escape our inescapable plight; however, you know that we have nowhere to go. We, therefore, appeal and plead that you use your powers to prevent any further violence, and frankly speaking, our deaths eventually. We humbly and sincerely plead with the utmost urgency that you provide us, the Rohingya Christians, a way to live in safety and peace.
Yours most sincerely,
Rohingya Christian Refugees
Email correspondence between one the Christian refugees I am in contact with and liaison officer between the UNHCR and RRRC (Government organization that manages refugees).
To me UNHCR is really useless now. We have update all the incidents to UNHCR but we found zero protection. We are asking for protection for many years from UN but they also discriminating us. uNHCR Bangladesh did nothing for us.please do something
Tonight around 1.30 am date 12/05/2019 ARSA terrorists attacked my family. They attacked with gun,long knife, ironic stik. They cut my hut,Broken hut, beat,shot my Brothers,parents, beat.
Whole of my family injured. We call for Army and police then they come to the my home at 2 am. Instead of protection they are saying,You go to hell or die. Then they left the place.
My question is,If UNHCT can do nothin, why they are telling us to call to UN for protectio? Yesterday another child age 14 was knife stabbed five times to his back of the body that i sent you the evidence
Can you please help us? We need you in urgent. Please come and see over us. I know you never faced anything like we are facing so you may not
I am really very sorry to hear what happened to you and your family. I have been following up with UNHCR Protection section in Cox’s Bazar and they have informed me that their focal points have been in touch with you several times. The head of UNHCR protection has brought your case, and the violence committed against the Christian to the attention of the Bangladeshi authorities and the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner, and I have informed the CiC for your camp for him to look into. I met again with UNHCR today, Ms. Tayba Sharif, who once again reassured me that they are taking this very seriously and are following up. As they work with protection, they are better skilled and able to help you.
Thank you! 17 christian family are packing their Personal usage thing to move. Yesterday Night ARSA attack them again whole the night but there was no officials to give them protection so everyone is hopeless but now Cic is taking action for them.
Sorry that I have to write you again about the current situation of 17 Christian families.
At the morning CIC said that to pack all the usegae things and get ready to move. They all got ready to leave Kutupalong camp but no longer support from CIC or Army in Bangladesh.
03:00 pm the CIC Sharmin and Army said We cant give you any protection or shelter to stay.
Now 17 Family with thier child,infants and injured are on the street without any protection. I dont know where these family will go or sleep tonight. Accordingly to the situation now they should stay on the beside the street under open sky at Night with thier family and childrens.
Is it our fault for being christian? its better to die by accident instead of Being killed by ARSA (Arkaan salvation army)and RKA(Rohingya killing agenc) . we are terrified , we are hopeless, we are persecuted by ARSA,RKA, Muslims Community,Polices and officials. Nuru Salam of the Christian leaders said.
Please please please my heartiest request to you please take this seriously and ensure the protection for tonight because the terrorists from the camp still threatenings by openly saying wherever you go tonight we will kill you. Said the RKA Member.
Dear Saiful Salam,
I have talked with Assistant CiC Ms. Shamima Akhter, who informed me about the events of today and yesterday. She said that no one instructed you to relocate, and as far as I understand there has been violence from both sides. I would urge you again to forward these request through the proper channels which is UNHCR Protection focal points (which I understand are already there with you) and the CiCs and Assistant CiCs in the future, as they are on the ground and able to follow up properly.
Yours sincerely, Kaja
The terrorists has broken 5 huts including my hut,injured my whole family. They have taken some of our documents.
They have cut off the door with long knife and taken all the documents , harmed and tried to rape my mother and sisters to rape
It true that the visited Army and other forces like the police came long after we called them to help us at the night, but instead they accused us by saying that we were casting Acid and kidnapped people, non of these are at all correct.
We stayed the whole night inside our house. More than hundreds of black dressed people (we couldn't verify them for they were outside in the dark and surrounded to our houses) crowded us for the whole nights. They attacked us from outside and cast big stone to us. A man name Shabbir ( so-called ASA Leader) including three other Block Mazis Amin, Abu Taher Ziabul came to Nuru Salam ́s (The Christian elderly Leader) house and warned him to not inform any of these incidents to the officials.
Last night was the worst night. The CIC Shamima said us to die and she can not help us any more when we called her for an urgent help middle in the night. The stoning was continued until 03.30 am.
Before the mob disappear Shabbir threatened to slaughter all the Christian including Nuru Salam if they don't leave the place.
In the morning We tried to contact Arif (the UNHCR Protection focal) and explained the situation, he gave us hope for his advocacy to CIC to ensure our security issue even if Arif said he earlier that he could not help us. Therefore We made the decision to leave the place to protect yourself by informing you All.
Right now we all are on the road within our small children infants, we don't know if we survive the night here. It is getting darker so People are already started to frightening to burn us in the night
Please save our lives and help us! We have no one/ place to go now
17 Rohingya Christian including my family (kids,injureds and chil) were at the Army camp out of camp from 06.00 pm(near Ukhiya degree college Army camp)to save themself from killing and terror attack again. These 17 family wanted to speak with Army and CIc about the attack they already faced for 3 days unstopping but no one is heard them.CiC shamima Akter is controlling the camp but whenever we call for the help she is saying we doing Drama.
Non is believing us that we injured, we are persecute, our hut us broken, important documents has taken away. We have no rights to speak with CIC and army and express the the feeling and whats happened to us thats why we are writing you only.
Whenever we are calling theg are they annoyed us. They (cic,police,army)are saying " we can't sleep" for you stupid Rohingyas so we have losr hope reaching them by phone call or directly but we were near the army camp from 6.00 pm
They (Army)abuses them and sent them back to camp without any protection at 09:30 pm. We are terrified.We have have already sent you all the updated about the persecution.
Please give us protection for tonights. We are very tired and childs are about to die due to frightening. Many injured persons cant control the pain of knife stabbed and Stone attack at the evening.
Please use your possibilities to ensure protection that we can live in peace and continue our religious activities. Just for our faith in Christ we are discriminated and discriminating by Muslim community and in Muslim Country
Come forward, stand beside us please, help us please, save our lifes. Give back our freedom. Justify all the persecution thats happened upon us and take action please.
We are Rohingya christian facing and struggling more then two decade, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Contact us, Saiful
Kutupalong Rohingyas Refugees camp Camp no 2E
Mobile number: 01824584670/01846115444 saiful Salim: 01872372595