Bangladesh bans two British charities from giving aid to Rohingya refugees

Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh's sprawling camps

Bangladeshi authorities have banned two British charities from distributing aid to Rohingya refugees who have entered the country from Myanmar since August.

Mahjabeen Khaled, an MP from the ruling Awami League Party, said the international charities Muslim Aid and Islamic Relief and Bangladesh-based “Allama Fazlullah Foundation” have been blacklisted from the Rohingya refugee camps in the Cox’s Bazar district.

Khaled, who sits on the parliamentary standing committee on foreign affairs, said no specific allegations had been levelled at the charities.

He added that Muslim Aid had also been banned from working in the refugee camps in 2012, when tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fled a separate surge of violence in neighbouring Myanmar.

Khaled told AFP: “We want to monitor who is giving aid, and why, for security reasons. Who are funding them, and what they are going to do with the money?

“They (Rohingya) are vulnerable. A lot can be done with this Rohingya people. We want to be careful.”

Bangladesh has heavily curtailed access to the Rohingya refugee camps in recent years, but eased rest last month after more than 520,000 new refugees crossed the border.

Bangladeshi authorities are reluctant to discuss their reasons for curbing access to the camps, but fear prevails that anger among the displaced Rohingya could be exploited by “extremist” networks.

Even the charities given the green light last month can only work for two months, and must restrict activities to providing healthcare, sanitation facilities, and shelter for the Rohingya.

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