Other measures, including “installation of watchtower and CCTV cameras have also been started to this effect to strengthen the surveillance on the Rohingya people and the refugee camps,” according to Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal.
In recent months incidents of risky trafficking of Rohingya to Malaysia have significantly increased through the Bay of Bengal.
Surveillance at the camps remains as needed and initiatives have been taken in accordance with instructions of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, he said.
Rohingya refugees and rights groups urged the government not to erect barbed-wire fences around the camps on refugee rights grounds.
“We understand that Bangladesh has concern for its national security but we are not extremists that should be kept under constant surveillance. We are genocide survivors and have taken refuge to save our lives,” Myo Thant, a refugee in the Cox’s Bazar camp, told the Anadolu Agency.
Putting wire fences may cause psychological and mentally disorders, and it is more akin to concentration camps than keeping camps secured, he added.
Nay San Lwin, co-founder of the Free Rohingya Coalition told Anadolu Agency that fencing the camps will undo all the humanity Bangladesh has shown and turn the camps into concentration camps with barbed-wires, watchtowers and CCTV.
“These camp inhabitants were in the open-air prison of Myanmar for decades. Now they are again facing the same denial of absolutely basic freedoms in Bangladesh, the place of their refuge,” he said and implored the government to drop the plan.
At least 15 bodies of Rohingya refugees were recovered, 65 rescued and more than 40 are still missing after a trawler sank Feb. 11 in the Bay of Bengal near St. Martin’s island while illegally trying to go to Malaysia.
“NGOs, Rohingya leaders in the camps must educate the refugees not to take risky boats to Malaysia. And, the entire community shouldn’t be punished for the crimes committing by a few people,” he added.
Earlier, The Human Rights Watch said plans for barbed wire and guard towers around Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar violate refugees’ rights to freedom of movement.
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have 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.
More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled “Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience”.