February 8, 2018
By Aaron Weaver
DECATUR, Ga.— The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has formed partnerships to assist the Rohingya people in the South Asian country of Bangladesh in response to the region’s humanitarian crisis, a situation described as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
In late August 2017, violence broke out in the northern Rakhine State of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and drove more than 650,000 Rohingya people across the border into Bangladesh. The speed and scale of the influx of the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic group which have resided in Myanmar for centuries and are regarded as among the most persecuted peoples in the world, has resulted in a critical humanitarian emergency.
The Rohingya refugees arrived with few possessions and are dependent on humanitarian assistance for food, health and nutrition and shelter. They have created makeshift settlements and spontaneous sites in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, an area prone to natural disasters and ravaged by Cyclone Mora in May 2017. The living situation remains an area of high concern with the upcoming monsoon season and high risks of flooding and landslides.
The Associated Press recently reported on new mass graves in Myanmar, further confirmation of the systematic killing of the Rohingya by the country’s military in the Buddhist-majority country. Human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and the United Nations, have noted that the abuses look like genocide, citing assaults carried out by state officials and Buddhist extremists including rape, arson, shootings, beatings and torture. These amount to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, according to the international rights organizations.
CBF is partnering with Transform Aid International (formerly Baptist World Aid Australia) to provide refugee families with emergency shelter and hygiene kits. An initial $5,000 was contributed to the first phase of this effort and an additional $5,000 will go toward the second phase of the response efforts to upgrade shelters within the refugee camps as the area prepares for monsoon season.
CBF is also supporting the work of its longtime partner Conscience International. In December, CBF contributed $5,000 to help supply truckloads of rice and lentils to a Rohingya refugee camp.
CBF field personnel Eddy Ruble, who serves in Malaysia, is facilitating these new partnerships as coordinator for the Fellowship’s international disaster response work in Asia. In this role, Ruble works in collaboration with regional and global partners to assist Baptists as they respond to disasters and focus on directing aid and assistance to the most neglected and marginalized communities to help them survive the immediate crisis and rebuild their lives and livelihoods for long-term recovery.
“I am grateful for the partnerships CBF has with other faith-based organizations who have the working relationships in Bangladesh to be able to go in and provide life-giving assistance to Rohingya refugees,” Ruble said. “Together, we are able to tangibly provide urgent care and support to Rohingya refugees who experienced untold violence and persecution. Through the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus taught us to put action to our compassion, to care for the physical needs of the oppressed, and to seek justice on their behalf.”
Learn more about the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship at www.cbf.net.
CBF is a Christian network that helps people put their faith to practice through ministry efforts, global missions and a broad community of support. The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.