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00:00:01
>> This is a camp for internally displaced Rohingya inside Myanmar. Thousands of people have lived here for six years in this overcrowded maze of temporary shelters. They fled here after many of their homes were raised by Buddhist mobs. Now Myanmar's government is under international pressure to close these camps and address the plight of these internally displaced Rohingya.
00:00:27
But critics say they're just moving them to new but still isolated housing where they'll live under the same oppressive conditions Reuters Simon Lewis has been investigating this story.>> We're talking about nearly 130,000 people who have been stuck in camps in the central part of Rakhine State for more than six years now.
00:00:45
This area is just south of where last year a massive military operation forced more than 730,000 people across the border to Bangladesh. What we found is closing the camps really just means building new houses next to the current shelters where these people are living.>> There's concern from international NGOs that while people are being moved to new homes, they're not getting back their freedom of movement or access to health and education.
00:01:13
Journalists are not allowed independent access to the camps in Rakhine, but Reuters was able to speak to residents by telephone.>> We spoke to people from one place, Niden, that used to be a camp but has now been declared closed. Now their living in new houses next to the former camp but they're still restricted on where they can go, and they can't do the former jobs that they used to do in the nearby town.
00:01:35
>> And the UN says Myanmar's actions are just perpetrating the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State, and could entrench segregation between Buddhists and Muslims.>> What we're not seeing is people being able to return home to where they fled from. And we're not seeing much more than a change in the shelter.
00:01:53
And the people in those places, in those camps still are relying to humanitarian assistance because they still don't have freedom of movement.>> According to the UN, humanitarian aid in Rakhine will cost around a $145 million next year. Myanmar says its national strategy to close camps housing internally displaced people is in line with 2017 recommendations from a UN commission.
00:02:16
And that there are no legal limits on freedom of movement in Rakhine.