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Muslim Aid to close Rohingya project

(Photo via WorldPolicy Blog)

By Sheikh Shahariar Zaman
February 16, 2015

Muslim Aid, a UK-based non-government organisation, is going to close down its Rohingya project in Teknaf in phases, as the European Union has stopped funding it.

“The NGO has dubious operations in Teknaf, and the government has requested the EU not to fund it,” said a senior official of the Foreign Ministry.

When contacted, the European Union embassy in Dhaka confirmed in an email that, from February this year, their contract with Muslim Aid has expired.

The government in 2008 allowed Muslim Aid to manage a make-shift camp for undocumented Rohingyas in Teknaf. The government scrapped its permission in 2012 but did not force the NGO to leave Teknaf.

Taking advantage of the administration’s lax grip, the NGO is still managing the camp where over 15,000 undocumented Rohingyas are residing.

Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, a convicted war criminal for killing Bangali intellectuals in collaboration with the Pakistan Army in 1971, was a former chairman of Muslim Aid.

“We do not want them to operate in Teknaf as the government has no knowledge of where and how they spend their fund,” said another foreign ministry official.

Last year, the EU alone provided 2.857 million Euros to Muslim Aid. The NGO also receives funds from other donors. The government has signed an agreement with International Organisation for Migration to train and equip local NGOs to provide humanitarian services to undocumented Rohingyas.

About 30,000 Rohingya refugees are residing in two camps in Cox’s Bazar, whereas about three to five lakh undocumented Rohingyas, whom the government does not recongnise as refugees, are residing in Cox’s Bazar, Teknaf, Chittagong, and other adjacent districts.

These undocumented Rohingyas pose serious security, economical, and environmental threats to Bangladesh, according to National Strategy on Undocumented Rohingya. 

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