Open Letter To The UN Secretary-General Calling for the Removal of the Rohingya Fence

Ruby Aktar speaking about Rohingya Women's Rights at Filia Conference 2019, Bradford

29th March 2021

Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

I was born in a refugee camp in Bangladesh. My father died in the camps when I was 6 months old due to lack of treatment. I was lucky enough to be brought to the UK on a refugee resettlement program when I was a child, but some of my family members still live in Bangladesh.

Last week I learnt about a massive fire in the refugee camps. Thousands of shelters were burnt and people lost everything. There have been fires before but this was much worse. I’m really shocked to learn that because of the barbed wire fencing that has been put up in the camps recently, people were trapped and could not escape and other people couldn’t get in to help them. I don’t know how many people died but I heard that crying mothers were searching for children and children for their parents.

Why are Rohingya people being treated this way? We are not animals and we are not criminals. Why are Rohingya refugees being imprisoned in barbed wire fences, in overcrowded camps where there is always a risk of fire? Why were these fences allowed to be put up?

I am calling for the UN to have a thorough and open investigation into how this fire happened and why these fences were allowed to be put up. In addition, I am calling for all these fences to be taken down. There is no good reason why hundreds of thousands of people should be imprisoned in barbed wire fencing and now this fire has happened, immediate action must be taken to remove these fences.

Yours sincerely,

Ruby Aktar