Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Burmese Refugee Beaten in Bangladesh

By Takaloo, Cox's Bazar: A Burmese urban refugee woman reported that she was beaten on Monday by a local man while she was alone collecting firewood in a jungle near Bwaidawpara Village in Cox's Bazar in southern Bangladesh.

The victim identified herself as 30-year-old Hla Kra San, aka Gontala Htayri, who holds a UNHCR refugee identification card with Ref. No. 393-08C00055 and is the mother of a four-month old infant.

"It was around 10:00 am when I was looking for some firewood in the jungle nearby the village for cooking lunch. At that moment, a local man approached me from behind speaking his own language that I didn't understand and grabbed me. When I protested his behavior, he started to beat me with wood he picked up," she said.
She added at the culprit ran away when a villager approached their location in the jungle. The victim has sustained black-and-blue bruises on her body and legs and both her hands were broken in the attack.

According to villagers, the alleged perpetrator is known as Ramzam Ali, a middle-aged man and son of Abul Hossain, and is also a resident of Bwaidawpara Village under Ramu Police Station precinct in Cox's Bazar District.

The victim added that her whole body was in severe pain, but she was able to reach the Cox's Bazar Government Hospital in downtown Cox's Bazar, nearly 30 kilometers from her village.

"I was brought back from the jungle to my home by the help of some villagers. I was able to reach the hospital around 6:00 pm with the help of my fellow refugees as my husband is far away from our home. I contacted my responsible officer at the UNHCR, but they just told me to go to the nearby hospital," she said, adding that she has been breast-feeding her newborn with the help of companions because she can not move her hands.

She has been allotted a space on the floor in the women's ward in the Cox's Bazar hospital as the beds have all been filled by local patients, but she has not been given any pain relief.

Khaing Soe, one of her fellow refugees, said that no sooner did they bring her to the hospital than they tried to report her case to the refugee emergency health care unit that was recently opened by the UNHCR in the hospital, but it was unfortunately closed.

"We tried to report her to the refugee emergency health care unit that was opened by the UNHCR in Cox's Bazar Hospital for the convenience of refugees' health emergencies, but unfortunately it was closed. Finally we had to go to the hospital duty doctors and implore them to admit her to the hospital," he said.

According to Burmese urban refugee sources, there are more than 200 UNHCR recognized urban refugees who are mostly sheltering in remote hilly areas of Cox's Bazar and Bandarban Districts in southern Bangladesh. They struggle for their survival while the UNHCR has been working for their local integration, but ignoring their difficulties and security challenges.

Ref: Narinjara


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