Myanmar doing too little to ensure displaced Rohingya return: UN refugee agency chief

OCHA/Vincent Tremeau Thousands of Rohingya refugees are living in Hakimpara refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


UN agencies together with the Bangladesh authorities have appealed for $877 million to support hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, where conditions are still not conducive for their safe return, UN refugee agency chief Filippo Grandi said on Tuesday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 2020 Joint Response Plan (JRP) launch for 855,000 ethnic Rohingya, and the more than 444,000 vulnerable Bangladeshis in host communities, Mr. Grandi urged Myanmar to take quicker action to help the displaced to return home.

“The solution continues to be in Myanmar”, said the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). “The problem is that things that need to be done there, to create conditions for refugees to return from Bangladesh into Myanmar, are too slow or not happening yet.”

In August 2017, a military operation in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in response to separatist violence prompted hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya to flee.

At the time, then High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, likened the episode to a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

Reporting to the Human Rights Council, he also cited reports of Myanmar authorities laying landmines along the border with Bangladesh and requiring returnees to provide “proof of nationality” – an impossibility, given that successive Myanmar governments have, since 1962, progressively stripped the Rohingya population of their political and civil rights, including citizenship rights.

Longstanding discrimination

At the current Human Rights Council session in Geneva, Zeid’s successor, Michelle Bachelet, noted that for over half a century, the policies of Myanmar had discriminated against religious and ethnic minorities.

Addressing Member States last week, she also said that the Government of Myanmar now had an historic opportunity to counteract systematic violations “by bringing its people together, as one”.

Listing the specific requirements of returning Rohingya refugees, Mr Grandi explained that they needed “freedom of movement, return of internally displaced people that are in camps in Rakhine state, respect of housing, land, property”.

Rohingya want ‘clarity’

They also needed “clarity on the pathway to citizenship that various commissions have indicated as being the fundamental step that needs to be taken”, the High Commissioner for Refugees insisted, in reference to recommendations by UN-appointed panels of experts.

Standing alongside the head of the UN migration agency (IOM) António Vitorino, Mr Grandi added: “There needs to be clarity in the minds of the refugees of what that means, in order for them not to be discriminated and to get eventually full integration in their own country, in their own society.”

In the months and years that followed the exodus from Rakhine state, Bangladesh has continued to host Rohingya refugees in a series of refugee camps in the south-east of the country, in an area known as Cox’s Bazar, along with host communities.

Highlighting the need for continued international assistance for Bangladesh, Shahriar Alam from the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that in the first 17 days alone after the exodus began, almost half a million Rohingya crossed into Bangladesh.

“We expect the UN Member countries to do more and work with me and do everything possible to put pressure on Myanmar to take their citizenship back…repatriation that is safe, voluntary and dignified,” he said.

Appeal provides for host communities too

According to UNHCR, IOM and the Bangladesh authorities, the 2020 appeal places stronger emphasis on supporting host communities that have taken in Rohingya refugees and fostering their well-being.

They need help with public service infrastructure – in particular, to reduce the impact of seasonal monsoon flooding – and access to sustainable livelihoods, along with initiatives to rehabilitate the environment linked to sustainable energy initiatives.

All Rohingya refugee households now use Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for cooking, which has led to a staggering 80 per cent drop in demand for firewood, the UN agencies said in a statement.

Some 30,000 local Bangladeshi families are also included in the initiative.

The introduction of LPG, together with reforestation measures, has resulted in a remarkable “re-greening” of the areas in Cox’s Bazar District where the Rohingya refugees are living, the appeal organisers maintained.

The appeal’s other objectives include strengthening protection for refugee women, men, girls and boys; delivering life-saving assistance to those in need and working towards sustainable solutions in Myanmar in line with the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals agenda.

Latest UN data shows that the 2019 Joint Response Plan was just over 70 per cent funded, meaning that donors provided $650 million against the $921 million requested.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Manufacturers Get Smarter for Industry 4.0

Why and how did ISIS and Muslim fundamentalism gain momentum this year?

‘Severe’ new US asylum restrictions will put vulnerable families at risk, UN refugee agency says

As Libya talks resume in Geneva, UN negotiator seeks to overcome sticking points

‘Well-being of two million’ in Gaza at stake as emergency fuel runs dry: UN humanitarian coordinator

Climate activist Greta Thunberg urges MEPs to put words into action

This is how COVID-19 is affecting informal workers

China’s New Normal and Its Relevance to the EU

China’s response shows how bold decision-making can contain coronavirus

Rohingya emergency one year on: UN says thousands of lives saved, but challenges remain

Africa: Urgent action needed to mobilise domestic resources as tax revenues plateau

A funding gap is hurting developing countries’ efforts to contain COVID-19

Huawei answers allegations about its selling prices

EU-China relations under investigation?

Decisive international action needed to end Israeli occupation: UN rights expert

Banks get trillions and the unemployed ECB’s love…

Gynecologic care in the 21st century

Modern society has reached its limits. Society 5.0 will liberate us

Western Sahara: a ‘peaceful solution’ to conflict is possible, says UN envoy

Bilbao’s city parks offer brain-training games for the elderly

ACP-EU : Agreement on climate change, migration and post-Cotonou

Industrial price dive may lead to point of no return

Long-term EU budget: Parliament wants safety net for beneficiaries

ESCALAR: up to €1.2 billion to help high potential companies grow and expand in Europe

SDGs and the historical and economic impact on Brazilian health

Sweden gives all employees time off to be entrepreneurs

How COVID-19 could open the door for driverless deliveries

A European student just sets the question of the day: What kind of education policies are missing in Europe?

EU is not only obsessed with Facebook but also blaims now innocent websites using social plugins to serve democratic dialogues?

Civilians ‘continue to pay highest price’ in Ukraine conflict, with peace prospects losing ‘momentum’

Viktor Orbán, Hungarian Prime Minister, at a 2015 event in Brussels, Berlaymont. (Copyright: European Union , 2015; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Lieven Creemers)

Hungary and Ireland build front to say no to EU tax harmonisation plan

Summertime Consultation: 84% want Europe to stop changing the clock

Can we understand how the universe was formed? A young scientist explains

MEPs to debate priorities for 28-29 June EU summit

Some progress made towards security in Mali, but still a long way to go, Security Council hears

UN rights chief ‘alarmed’ by upsurge in attacks against civilians in Syria’s Idlib

An economist explains how to go carbon neutral in our lifetime

Heard about deepfakes? Don’t panic. Prepare

Chinese tech investors are turning towards MENA. Here’s why

May a parody constitute a copyright infringement? European Court of Justice to give the answer

Social media and the lack of information for blood donation

New rules for audiovisual media services approved by Parliament

MEPs propose ways to boost plastics recycling

EU migration crisis again accentuates lack of unity and solidarity among member states

Barriers to trade: as protectionism rises, EU continues opening up export markets for European firms

This is how India can become the next Silicon Valley

Parliament supports European Green Deal and pushes for even higher ambitions

Trump ostracized by his party and world elites but still remains in course; how can he do it?

Address by the President Antonio Tajani at the funeral of Nicole Fontaine

Climate change is a disruptor. Here’s how to harness it for innovation

3 ways firms can master the digital challenges of the 4IR

SMEs turning to alternative financing instruments as growth slows in bank lending

The Ecofin deceives the SMEs with the EIB €10bn capital increase

Emotional stability and the COVID-19 pandemic: is it possible to reconcile them?

Civil society groups matter for Cambodia’s sustainable development: UN expert

Eurozone: Retail sales and inflation point to recession

What does Tsipras have to offer to the rest of Europe? Is it worth an early advance of €10 billion? Berlin sturdily denies it

UN member states express their will to tackle global migration but specific actions are still missing

Cancer research put at risk by General Data Protection Regulation? The possible dangers of a data privacy EU mania

Here’s how we can tackle the growing cybersecurity skills gap

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s