DHAKA (AFP) - Doctors Without Border (MSF) Saturday urged Dhaka to reconsider its ban on providing aid to Myanmar’s Rohingya refugees, saying the humanitarian consequences of the decision will be “devastating”.
It has accused the organisations of serving undocumented Rohingya refugees, alleging that medical, food, drinking water and training facilities run by the charities are encouraging an influx of Rohingya to the country.
The NGO Affairs Bureau, which is a wing under the prime minister’s office, accused MSF of “damaging the image of Bangladesh by running negative news in the international media” about difficult conditions faced by the Rohingya.
The MSF said it was “shocked” at the order and said around 100,000 people risk losing access to lifesaving healthcare in the southeastern Cox’s Bazaar district as a consequence.
“To be forced to leave our patients is unthinkable and the repercussions life threatening,” said MSF operational manager for Bangladesh, Chris Lockyear. “We are astounded at being requested to cease our medical activities and deprive people of lifesaving services. We can only hope that the Bangladeshi government will re-consider,” Lockyear added. MSF has been running a health centre in Cox’s Bazaar since 1992, which provides comprehensive medical aid to some 5000 people — both Rohingyas and locals — every month, just under half of whom are children under five years.