DHAKA, Bangladesh

Turkey and Bangladesh discussed ways to step up joint humanitarian activities to help Rohingya refugees and host communities in Cox’s Bazar, southeastern Bangladesh.

During a visit to Cox’s Bazar refugee camp on Monday, Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh Mustafa Osman Turan assured Bangladeshi officials of proper humanitarian aid to help the people in need.

Currently, some 1.2 million displaced Myanmar nationals are taking shelter in several temporary refugee camps. Local host communities are also facing different challenges while dealing with the refugees.

Turan met with Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner’s Additional Secretary Shah Rezwan Hayat and Cox’s Bazar District Commissioner Md Kamal Hossain on Monday and discussed ways “to deepen collaboration between Turkey and Bangladesh institutions working on humanitarian assistance both for Rohingya and host communities affected by the crisis,” according to a social media post by Turkey’s Embassy in Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency delivered COVID-19 medical equipment for Chakaria and Ramu hospitals in Cox’s Bazar. A local member of the parliament, Zafar Alam, received the aid.

Turan also visited Arunodoy School, a special institute for children with special needs. Appreciating the special arrangement for such children, the ambassador assured of special support, including raising skilled manpower for the institute and training for teachers.

World’s most persecuted people

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.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.

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, Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience.

As many as 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes burned down, while 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

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