Red Cross motives questioned at No Man's Land

Taungbro border, Bangladesh

A Red Cross delegation turned up at Taungbro No Man's Land Rohingya encampment today, 12 September 2018, from the Myanmar side. 

The Red Cross spokesman said they had come to the border only to engage in discussion and that they were not there “to make a show".  It is thought that the Red Cross' visit is part and parcel of Myanmar's request to the Bangladesh government to stop delivery of food and aid from the Bangladesh side, currently overseen by the Red Cross in Bangladesh. This would be in an effort to force the refugees to leave the area. Previously Myanmar security forces have shot a child on the thigh, intimidated residents in various ways including frequent loudspeaker demands for them to leave, throwing rubbish and pelting Rohingya with slingshots. 

The Rohingya refugees made it clear that the Red Cross delegation had only made this visit at the behest of the Myanmar government. The Myanmar government had instructed the Red Cross to do so because it is currently feeling the pinch of the recent judgment at the International Criminal Court and the report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission of the UN. 

The Rohingya residents of Taungbro  No Man's Land also made the following points: 

1. That if the Red Cross visit was indeed for genuine humanitarian reasons, why had they not visited in over a  year? 

2. The refugees informed the Red Cross that they do not want any food or aid from the Myanmar side. 

3. Rather, the Red Cross should tell the Myanmar government that all the refugees would like to be able to return to their own homes, not be forced into concentration camps, and be able to live in safety.  Myanmar should create the conditions necessary for that. 

The Red Cross spokesperson replied that they were independent of the government and were only there for the delivery of food and aid. They hope to return next week for a fuller assessment of the situation affecting the refugees.