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Thousand Of Rohingya Refugees Get Clean Drinking Water, Thanks To Green Technology

The UNHCR along with its partner agencies are hoping to install nine more solar-powered water networks across the refugee camp in the coming year.

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Rohingya, Drinking water, amnesty
Formin Akter applies makeup before heading to Chittagong to attend school at the Asian University for Women in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Aug. 24, 2018. VOA

Thousands of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, now have safe drinking water thanks to a combination of green technology and sunlight.

Cox’s Bazar has plenty of refugees. More than 900,000. Most have arrived in Bangladesh since August 2017, when violence and persecution by the Myanmar military triggered a mass exodus of Rohingya refugees.

The refugees are living in squalid conditions across 36 different locations in Cox’s Bazar. Water is scarce in most locations. But sunshine is plentiful. Over the past six months, the U.N. refugee agency and partners have been putting into operation solar-powered safe water systems.

Rohingya, Violence. drinking water
Rohingya refugees carry a hume pipe in Balukhali refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh. VOA

The UNHCR reports the first five systems are now running at full capacity. It says the new safe water systems run entirely on electricity generated through solar panels. UNHCR spokesman, Andrej Mahecic, says this new network is providing safe water to more than 40,000 refugees.

Rohingya, Violence. drinking water
A new toilet recently installed in a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. VOA

“Using the solar energy has allowed the humanitarian community to reduce the energy costs and emissions,” said Mahecic. “So, there is a clear environmental impact of this. Chlorination is also a life-saver in refugee sites of this scale. The recent tests revealed that most contamination of drinking water occurs during collection, transport and storage at the household level.”

Mahecic notes chlorinated water is safe for drinking and also eliminates the risk of the spread of disease.

Also Read: Lack of Proper Sanitation Affects 620 Million Children Around The World: Report

The UNHCR along with its partner agencies are hoping to install nine more solar-powered water networks across the refugee camp in the coming year. The project, which is funded by the agency, will cost $10 million. It will benefit an additional 55,000 Rohingya refugees.

The UNHCR says its ultimate aim is to provide 20 liters of safe water to every single refugee on a daily basis. It says this will be done by piping in the solar powered water to collective taps strategically installed throughout the Kutupalog-Balukhali refugee site. (VOA)

 

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Amnesty International Accuses India Of Disregarding National Law After It Deports A Rohingya Family

Around 18,000 Rohingya in India are registered with the United Nations refugee agency.

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Amnesty, Rohingya
Members of a Muslim Rohingya family sit as they pose for a photograph with Indian and Myanmar security officials before their deportation on India-Myanmar border at Moreh in the northeastern state of Manipur, India, Jan. 3, 2019. VOA

Amnesty International on Monday accused India of disregarding international law after a Rohingya family was deported to Myanmar where the military is accused of genocide against the stateless Muslim minority.

The family of five, who had been in prison in India’s northeastern Assam state since 2013, was handed over to Myanmar authorities on Thursday — the second such deportation in just months after seven men were returned in October.

The United Nations expressed concern over the forcible repatriation of the Rohingya while rights groups warned New Delhi was putting the community at serious risk by returning them to Myanmar, where for decades the minority has been targeted in violent pogroms by security forces.

Rohingya, india
Rohingya women and children are seen at a temporary shelter in the Kalindi Kunj area of New Delhi, India, April 15, 2018. VOA

The Rohingya are despised by many in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, which refuses to recognize them as citizens and falsely labels them “Bengali” illegal immigrants.

They were concentrated in Rakhine state, the epicentre of a Myanmar army offensive that since August 2017 has driven some 720,000 Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh.

“The Rohingya population in Rakhine state in Myanmar continue to live under a system of apartheid,” Amnesty India’s Abhirr V. P. said in a statement.

“The expulsion of asylum-seekers and refugees amounts to a violation of India’s obligations under customary international law, which prohibits governments from returning people to a territory where they are at risk of serious human rights violations.”

Rohingya, Drinking water, amnesty
Formin Akter applies makeup before heading to Chittagong to attend school at the Asian University for Women in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Aug. 24, 2018. VOA

India is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention.

Indian officials say around 40,000 Rohingya are living in the country, where Hindu hardliners have called for their mass deportation.

Also Read: Second Group Of Rohingya Muslims Get Deported By India

Around 18,000 Rohingya in India are registered with the United Nations refugee agency.

UNHCR said despite repeated requests they were not granted access to the Rohingya family detained in Assam before their deportation.

India’s home ministry told parliament last week that 478 Rohingya were arrested between 2015 and 2018, with last year topping the list with 230 detentions along the nation’s borders. (VOA)

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