ACTNews, SITTWE, Rakhine - Warm breeze sneaked into the bamboo-made makeshift shelter. It came up with dust and rainwater which gradually weathered the shelter. Shelter, if it was the right term to name that building. There was no sanitation facility, nor was access to electricity.
But what could they, Rohingya refugees, do about it? It was like the only option they had; they had to struggle every day to live in the lousy refugee camps in Sittwe, capital city of Rakhine State.
There were so many restrictions on their rights. They could not get proper job, education, food, and health. They even could not perform prayer.
“Prior to 2012, there were 30 mosques in Sittwe. But now there are only 2 solid mosques and 1 damaged mosque,” told ACT’s partner in Sittwe.
For five years, hundred of thousands of Myanmar Muslims live in worn out makeshift shelter. Their houses burnt down since religion and tribal conflict rose in Sittwe in 2012.
Let alone houses, even worship places in Sittwe were also targeted. Some mosques were converted to other function as there was almost no Rohingya Muslim left in Sittwe. They are all now isolated in refugee camps located in remote areas in Sittwe. Tight security measures lock every entry gate.
Since conflict occurred five years ago, the joy of qurbani festivity in SIttwe is faded.
However, people still could perform Eid prayer in refugee camps. Last year, Tuesday (13/9) to be precise, they performed Eid al Adha prayer in newly-built little mosques.
During that day and the next day, Tuesday-Wednesday (13-14/9), Global Qurban visited them to bring the joy of qurbani festivity. Livestocks were slaughtered and distributed for Rohingya refugees in Sittwe. They lived across Muslim village Thei Kay Pyin and IDP Camps.
Rain beat against thin layer of their makeshift tents. It was so torrential, and so was their radiance of gratitude. They did not expect Global Qurban kept its promise to always spread joy of qurbani in their neighborhood every year. Children threw their wide smiles as that day, they were going to taste the juicy qurbani meat.
To tell the truth, bringing international aids to Sittwe was not that easy. Tight security measures and flimsy excuses were often used by Myanmar’s forces to prevent the aids entering Sittwe.
Sutaryo, team member of SOS Rohingya VIII - ACT, said, condition in Sittwe at that time was still under control of Myanmar’s forces. Government of Myanmar released a warning status in the area. Therefore, foreign NGOs who intended to distribute humanitarian aids often faced difficulties.
Meanwhile, associations of human rights in Southeast Asia countries also form a joint committee in August 2016. The committee aims to discuss human rights, humanitarian aids, rights and reconciliation, and to promote long term development plan in Myanmar. However, until today, their effort to achieve the goals is always be hindered as Government of Myanmar often refuse their proposal of investigation.
Thus, as endeavour to reach peace does not bring any significant result yet, efforts to relieve pain of Rohingya Muslims must be set as priority. Spreading the joy of qurbani festivity is one of the best efforts we can do.
Insha Allah, in the upcoming Eid al Adha, Global Qurban will be back to Sittwe, bringing the best qurbani from dear people of Indonesia. The qurbani meat will once again reduce their sorrow.