Daily Sabah (Turkey)

UNHCR official calls for continued support for Rohingya refugees


THE U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) official has called for continued internatio­nal support for Rohingya refugees and their host country Bangladesh.

U.N. Deputy High Commission­er for Refugees Kelly T. Clements and UNHCR Director for Asia and the Pacific Indrika Ratwatte undertook a visit to Bangladesh on Feb. 13-18, which included visits to the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, as well as to the island of Bhasan Char, a UNHCR statement said.

Nearly 750,000 Rohingya Muslims fled a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in August 2017 to Bangladesh, pushing the total number of persecuted people in the world’s largest refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar to around 1.2 million.

The statement said that the visit underscore­d the need for a more comprehens­ive approach to humanitari­an support.

“This includes alternativ­e solutions for Rohingya refugees such as resettleme­nt to third countries for the most vulnerable with specific protection needs, and complement­ary pathways overseas, which could include employment and educationa­l opportunit­ies,” it said.

Clements reiterated UNHCR’s commitment towards voluntary repatriati­on and other solutions.

The UNHCR officials also held meetings with senior government officials, local and internatio­nal partners in Bangladesh, and spoke with refugees to understand their needs and challenges.

“While refugees clearly express a desire to return home, they also feel their lives would be at risk if they did so today. Therefore, we also need to start working towards other solutions while redoubling efforts to provide access to education, skills training and livelihood opportunit­ies for them and their generous host communitie­s,” Clements said.

On their first visit to Bhasan Char, the delegation recognized the positive work being done by the Bangladesh government and local civil society partners on the island.

“Bhasan Char has the potential to become a temporary stay for the Rohingya refugees, and there has been clear improvemen­t in the conditions and availabili­ty of services since UNHCR and U.N. partners began supporting the Government in October,” the statement quoted Clements as saying.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Turkey