UN launches $1 bil­lion Ro­hingya refugee ap­peal

$1 bil­lion Ro­hingya refugee ap­peal

Mizzima Business Weekly - - CONTENTS -

The United Na­tions on 16 March launched an ap­peal for nearly $1 bil­lion to care for Ro­hingya refugees in Bangladesh, while un­der­scor­ing that ef­forts must re­main fo­cused on se­cur­ing the safe re­turn to Myan­mar of those dis­placed.

UN agen­cies asked for $951 mil­lion (774 mil­lion eu­ros) through the rest of the year to pro­vide ba­sic needs for the nearly one mil­lion Ro­hingya Mus­lims in Bangladesh, in­clud­ing the al­most 700,000 who have crossed the bor­der since Au­gust. The head of the UN refugee agency, Filippo Grandi, told re­porters that the im­me­di­ate con­cern was mo­bil­is­ing life-sav­ing aid for refugees, es­pe­cially with mon­soon sea­son ap­proach­ing and tens of thou­sands of peo­ple liv­ing in ar­eas prone to land­slides and floods.

Grandi again ac­knowl­edged that it "may take a very long time" be­fore any Ro­hingya can re­turn to their home in Myan­mar's Rakhine state, in the ab­sence of any ev­i­dence that they will be safe if they go back. The Ro­hingya fled af­ter Myan­mar launched a bru­tal crack­down on in­sur­gents six months ago that the UN has called "eth­nic cleans­ing" -- a claim the coun­try ve­he­mently de­nies.

But Grandi in­sisted that de­spite those cir­cum­stances, he would not stop fight­ing for the repa­tri­a­tion of those who wish to re­turn home. "I think it is very im­por­tant to talk about the right of the Ro­hingya to re­turn," he said, adding that he "can­not en­ter­tain the no­tion" where their dis­place­ment is deemed per­ma­nent.

Bangladesh and Myan­mar agreed in Novem­ber to be­gin repa­tri­at­ing Ro­hingya who vol­un­teered to re­turn to Rakhine state, where the per­se­cuted Mus­lim mi­nor­ity has lived for gen­er­a­tions. Grandi con­ceded that the con­di­tions for safe re­turn are not in place and that dis­cus­sions with Myan­mar on repa­tri­a­tion "have been pretty ba­sic, not very fre­quent (and) not very ad­vanced". But, he added, those talks "have con­tin­ued".

"We have to take this thing one step at a time," he said, re­it­er­at­ing the need for hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance while repa­tri­a­tion ne­go­ti­a­tions play out.

UN seeks fund for refugee re­lief. Photo: EPA

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.