Save Refugees From Death Due to Unsafe Shelters

Target: Abdul Hamid, President of Bangladesh

Goal: Ensure safe and humane shelters for displaced Rohingya refugees

Tragedy continues to be a routine way of life for thousands of families fleeing from persecution and slaughter in Myanmar. A massive fire at a Rohingya refugee camp in neighboring Bangladesh has left at least 15 dead and thousands without shelter. The death toll could climb exponentially as an estimated 400 people remain missing.

The Rohingya people have been the subject of a brutal four-year crackdown by Myanmar’s military that global agencies have condemned as genocide. In fact, these atrocities will be the subject of an upcoming international tribunal. Millions of refugees have sought protection in Bangladesh, but once they cross the border their fear and displacement often does not end. Fires have previously destroyed numerous shelters and refugee medical facilities in the country.

Even the camps that are erected often resemble archaic jails, with barbed wire enclosing the shelters. Such dangerous fencing could have prevented countless individuals, including young children, from escaping the latest raging fire. The barbed wire has also reportedly hindered other humanitarian aid efforts in the past.

These families seeking a better, safer life should not have their lives oppressed and endangered in the very place they sought as refuge. Sign the petition below to call on Bangladesh’s government to investigate the onslaught of fires at refugee camps and to stop treating these shelters as punishing prisons.


Dear President Hamid,

“Everything has gone.” This heartbreaking assessment from a Rohingya refugee encapsulates the torment that the survivors of the recent shelter fire as well as millions of other displaced families are enduring. The fire that took 15 lives (a toll that could tragically have numbered in the hundreds) is far from an isolated incident. Thousands more fires have upended the lives of countless refugees who have fled to Bangladesh.

While an investigation has reportedly been launched into the most recent blaze, this effort should extend to all fires impacting refugees. These families, already facing unimaginable danger from their own homeland, deserve this measure of dignity, decency, and humanity. They should likewise have the chance to rebuild their lives in a safe space, not a confine defined more by its dangerous barbed wire than its ability to aid and protect.

You have opened your doors to neighbors in need. Please do not let this extended helping hand become a closed fist. Heed the calls of humanitarian workers to remove these life-threatening structures.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Captain Raju

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