Umm Muhammed Umar
The leader of the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights, known as Mohibullah, was shot to death in a camp in Cox’s Bazar refugee camp, in Bangladesh, on Wednesday night.
Al Jazeera reports that in his late 40’s and with eight children, Mohibullah was killed by unknown gunmen. His wife, Nasima Begum, said, “I am devastated, how can I manage the family now? It’s a difficult road ahead. I am scared to live here now, we need security.” There is a heavy security presence at the camp, but according to Al Jazeera, the calm is uneasy.
Rohingya refugees want answers. One, sobbing, said, “He was a gem to us and done so much for us, but we couldn’t save him. He took our case to the global community to seek justice for us.”
Al Jazeera reports that Mohibullah became a target for hardliners and began receiving death threats after he gained recognition when he was chosen to meet former US President Donald Trump at the White House, to represent his community, and to attend a UN Human Rights Council session in 2019.
Human Rights Watch said that Mohibullah had always defended the rights of the Rohingya to safe and dignified return and to have a say in that which concerned their lives and future. Meenakshi Ganguly, HRW’s South Asia director said that his was an indicator of the risks faced by those in the camps who speak for freedom. Amnesty International also urged Bangladeshi authorities and the United Nations refugee agency to cooperate to ensure that people in the camps were protected. The UNHCR, meanwhile, urged Bangladeshi authorities to take immediate action against the perpetrators.
Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen said that “vested” interests were responsible for the killing as Mohibullah had wanted to return to Myanmar. Momen declared, “The government will take stern action against those who were involved in the killing. No one will be spared.”
Police say the murder was well planned. One suspect, who was also a Rohingya, had on Friday been taken into custody.