DHAKA (GDC) — The Bangladesh military said Thursday it had ordered an investigation after a Rohingya family in a refugee camp accused army troops of sexually assaulting a Rohingya woman.
The inquiry comes as around a million Rohingya in vast camps in Bangladesh face increasing hostility two years after fleeing a military offensive in Myanmar. Rohingya often don’t complain to the police in fear of retribution by Bangladesh Army.
Mohammad Osman, an elder brother of the alleged victim, said three soldiers entered their shanty at the Nayapara Rohingya camp on Sunday evening and sexually assaulted his sister.
A Rohingya woman has been sexually assaulted by Bangladeshi troop, Human Rights group told AFP by phone, referring to the border district where the refugee camps are located.
A spokesman of the Bangladesh Armed Forces, Lieutenant Colonel Abdullah ibn Zaid, said they were investigating.
“We have formed a probe committee to investigate the incident and find out the facts. If (they are) found guilty, exemplary punishment will be given,” ibn Zaid told AFP.
A spokesman of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said they were also investigating the incident.
“We are aware of the reports. In such cases, individuals are entitled to medical, physical and psychological support, as well as access to due process,” UNHCR spokesman Joseph Tripura said in a statement to AFP.
U.N. experts have expressed “serious concerns” about the restrictions.
Last week Bangladesh’s home minister said that barbed-wire fencing, guard towers and cameras would be erected around the Rohingya camps, sparking criticism from rights groups.
Checkpoints set up on the main highways leading to the camps have stopped Rohingya and sent them back to the settlements when they try to travel to other parts of Bangladesh.
Rights activists said this could be the first time Rohingya have been charged with infiltration — an offence that carries five years in jail.
Previously, the Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organisation Malaysia (MERHROM) has accused the Bangladeshi army of gang-raping a 12-year-old Rohingya girl in Cox Bazar, Bangladesh.
Its president Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani said the rape incident proved that protection for women and children live in the refugee camp were fragile conditions.
The authorities have also blocked mobile phones and the internet in the camps, accusing some Rohingya refugees of committing violent crimes, including the murder of a local politician.
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