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Bangladesh: Rohingya Refugee Camp, Unregistered

Documentary photo story posted on 5 October 2009 by Jared Katz

The Rohingya are not recognized as Burmese citizens by the ruling military junta. Widespread abuse, rape, and oppression have caused hundreds of thousands to flee and find refuge in neighboring Bangladesh. Today, over 27,000 of these refugees remain unrecognized by the Bangladeshi government as legal refugees, and are left largely unsupported with nowhere to go; they are rejected from both Burma and Bangladesh, being pushed by each in opposing directions.


After the United Nations registered roughly 250,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh in 1992 they have been provided with food, shelter, clothing, and 236,000 have been repatriated abroad to begin new lives. However, since 1992, over 27,000 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh; without Bangladeshi recognition of their refugee status, the United Nations is unable to offer them support. In consequence these Rohingya themselves have set up an unregistered camp in a forested area surrounding the UN camp.


Without refugee status they are unable to work legally and are refused access to medical attention. On average each family of 5 earns 50-80 taka per day ($0.71-$1.14). Some days they eat, some days they don’t. The elderly and children are usually sent to beg for food; when unsuccessful they eat leaves from the jungle.

Rohingya men are left without work due to the monsoon

Rohingya men are left without work due to the monsoon

Family members look on as their grandmother suffers from an untreated illness.

Family members look on as their grandmother suffers from an untreated illness.

One 25-year-old man, Abu Seyid, was in a car accident, breaking his hip and paralyzing him from the waist down. He was able to beg for enough money for an emergency surgery and when I found him he lay in the mud in his hut, walled and roofed by garbage bags, crying in agony. There was no help coming for him, even though the UN camp boundary was only 100 meters away.

Abu Seyid

Abu Seyid

A mother seems to ponder their plight as the children banter in playful conversation.

A mother seems to ponder their plight as the children banter in playful conversation.

A prominent feature of the unregistered refugee camp is the amount of young children. After talking with the residents, I discovered many of them were born inside the unregistered refugee camp, by midwives on the mud floors of their huts. These children have no nationality, rejected by both Bangladesh and Burma. Some, as old as 17, have not known any other life, other than that within the camp. They are receiving no education; they are receiving no external aid once they are over 5 years old; they have no future; they have no hope.




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  1. The last photo is awesome.
    This set really telling the truth of this story. Keep it up

  2. Dear sir
    I would like to inform you we are the unregistered Rohingya in Bangladesh refugees camp. which thing is helping us that thing is not get properly because of Member Boktiar.please save us from him.

  3. today given for each family one sack of food but the foreigners has left than local villagers members baktiar said return that food sack given by turkey to my home. and I shall divide you all one food sack for three family. …If any body will not return member fell him danger.
    food sack have
    rice 15kg
    dail 5kg
    salt 1kg
    oil 1kg
    flour 2kg
    above the thing is helping us by turkey but now members said i shall divide you one sack for three family. … it possible sir..and we are vulnerable Rohingya. ……Please help us from him……

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