Sat 22 August 2020:
UN refugee agency spokesman says answer to plight of Rohingya lies in Myanmar
GENEVA – The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, called Friday for renewed solutions for displaced and stateless Rohingya communities inside and outside Myanmar.
The agency said nearly 900,000 are refugees in Bangladesh, three years after a crisis there peaked.
UNHCR spokesmsn Andrej Mahecic said at a Geneva news conference that the international community must maintain support for Rohingya refugees, host communities and expand the search for solutions.
“Three years on from the latest exodus of Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar and sought sanctuary in Bangladesh from August 2017 onwards, challenges persist and continue to evolve,” said Mahecic.
“Rohingya communities estimate that up to three-quarters of the Rohingya people are today living outside of Myanmar.”
The agency said Bangladesh registered more than 860,000 Rohingya refugees in settlements in Cox’s Bazar.
“Ultimately, the solution to the plight of the Rohingya lies in Myanmar, and in comprehensively implementing the Advisory Commission’s recommendations on Rakhine State, to which the Government of Myanmar has committed,” said Mahecic.
He noted that Bangladesh had ensured protection and extended life-saving humanitarian support by hosting nine out of 10 Rohingya refugees registered in the Asia-Pacific region.
“This generosity must be acknowledged through continued investment in both Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi host communities,” he said.
Creating conditions conducive to the Rohingya people’s safe and sustainable return will require a comprehensive society engagement, resuming and enhancing dialogue between Myanmar authorities and Rohingya refugees and other measures that help inspire trust, he said.
“These include lifting restrictions on freedom of movement, reconfirming that internally displaced Rohingya can return to their villages and providing a clear pathway towards citizenship,” said Mahecic.
He said Rohingya people’s strength and resilience in exile in Bangladesh and elsewhere had formed the backbone of the humanitarian response during the past three years.
“Respecting and recognizing their courage and capacities means ensuring they are not forgotten as the crisis enters a fourth year,” he said.
The Rohingya are described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, and have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
Amnesty International said more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.
By Peter Kenny | Anadolu agency