Written by: Anar Ahammed (originally from Buthidaung Township. Rakhine State, Myanmar)
On my first day at Leda, it was quite strange and unusual as it was the first day of my life at a refugee camp. At day time I wondered around the camp and looked around the temporary teaching institutes and then I was introduced with different level people like teachers, religious teachers, camp’s authority, and elderly people of the camp. I found that most of the its residents were uneducated, men were strolling without doing anything, youths were passing the times gossip in a shop, many families were going through starvation, children were wasting their times sitting and playing, women were spending their times living inside the home though it is very hot during the hot season, some women and oldest men go for begging, roof of the homes were about to fall upon them, some 10 Rohingya were hired by local people to go for robbery, some youth women from different blocks were hired by the local people to sell their drugs (Yaba tablet and ganja) . Basically all of the refugees were hopeless and helpless and they were used by the local people for different activities as most of the refugees are illiterate….
I comprehended that most of the Rohingya refugees were living under fear and completely helpless. Since then I started to observe what kind of harassment and crime were doing inside the camp by local people and some of our own people who are descendant of unmoral and criminal family. And then I was also trying to know how they were educating to the children. I found that the educating system was very bad and crime were committing increasingly by both communities…. I would like say that during my life in the camp I have to see the local people committing crime inside the camp like raping to the Rohingya woman and minor girls ( that never happen in Myanmar unless there is communal violence), beating Rohingya man and woman without any reason at the exit of the camp’s road and inside the camp, discrimination is always present, kidnapping Rohingya girls is less, local drug smuggler use the Rohingya women to sell their drugs inside camp to carry it from Teknaf to other towns through the checkpoints, robbing Rohingya house by local robbers, humiliating Rohingya dignified people on false accusations, Muslim aid staffs extort money from the family and also raping was found, discrimination inside the clinic, very ill-treatment with refugees inside the camp, inside the IDP of Muslim aid clinic, the clinic and at Teknaf ,taking Rohingya women for prostitution to Teknaf by local people, raping Rohingya girls while going to collect the water and fire wood, etc.
Though some youths like me , men and elderly people knew about how much we were oppressed and harassed we didn’t have an option to stop all this because we were very weak financially, physically, and with knowledge. The big weakness of us is we are arm less and powerless….The most interesting thing is that we are not harassed by police in Bangladesh as much as we were harassed by police in Myanmar. In deed we left the country with the expectation of finding a safe haven in somewhere, but unfortunately we found inverse one, as instead of heaven we found hell (all unregistered refugee camps including Leda camp). Actually we were not harassed from the government’s side but we were harassed from the public side. In Myanmar we were harassed by the government authorities but not harassed by our neighbors Rakhine. In Bangladesh the local never feel kind for a refugee or Rohingya although the government authorities feel kind….And the life in leda camp was as happy as sad because I feel happy whenever I visit and live in leda camp as it was with full of our own community. And then we could share our sufferings and happiness to each other.