Bradford's tiny Rohingya community are a remarkable group of families, numbering around 200 in total. Despite having gained safety in the UK, receiving refugee status, and making good use of chances to better themselves - they have never forgotten those they have left behind in the refugee camps on the border of Bangladesh and Burma. Having been driven out of Burma, they have endured horrific conditions in the camps of their neighbouring country.
Today, a delegation came to Desmond Tutu House seeking help. The news is emerging of a deadly deal that the Bangladeshi government is making with the Burmese dictatorship. No more Rohingyan people will be allowed to leave the refugee camps and from now on, they are to be denied the right to join family who have been able to find sanctuary in the UK, Ireland, Canada, US, Norway and Sweden.
Instead, as many as 30,000 now face repatriation to Burma, to a country where thousands have been killed, and where they simply have no rights at all.
This outrageous injustice must be challenged. Our group arranged to see our local MP to see what pressure our government can put on the Bangladeshi authorities. The Rohingya community are also planning a walk to the nearest Bangladeshi consulate in Manchester to highlight their concerns.
On November 18th, the Rohingya community will commemorate an incident in 2004 in which the Bangladeshi military opened fire on a protest march against conditions in the refugee camps. 3 were killed and many, many more were injured or arrested. This date will be used around the world to call on the Bangladesh government to remember the rights of this persecuted community.
The Bradford Rohingya community can be proud that they have never run away from their responsibility to the community still suffering on the borders of Bangladesh and Burma. let us do all we can to support them.