“Robust and sustained international support” is again needed for Rohingya refugees and the Bangladeshi communities generously hosting them, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on March 29.
“Humanitarian agencies are seeking more than $881 million to support approximately 1.4 million people, including over 918,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char, and around 540,000 Bangladeshis in neighboring communities,” UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch told journalists during a press briefing in Geneva.
The launch of the 2022 Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis, was co-hosted by the Government of Bangladesh, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR.
The JRP brings together the activities of 136 partners, 74 of which are Bangladeshi organizations—while also recognizes the significant contributions that the refugees themselves make to the response.
Do not forget the Rohingya
For decades the international community has been supporting the Bangladesh Government as they generously host Rohingya refugees.
However, as global displacement continues to rise, UNHCR and partners emphasized the need to keep the Rohingya situation in the public’s eye—lest it become a forgotten crisis.
“It is, therefore, vital to ensure continued funding and support to meet the needs of refugees and surrounding host communities,” said Mr. Balock.
Given their geography, the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar are especially vulnerable to natural disasters.
This year’s JRP accordingly highlighted the need for enhanced efforts towards disaster risk management and climate change mitigation, including through reforestation and energy interventions.
“The steadfast support from the international community has been, and will be, crucial in delivering lifesaving protection and assistance services for Rohingya refugees,” he said.
“While they are in Bangladesh, it is important that Rohingya refugees are able to live in safety and with dignity, and that they can develop the skills and capacities that could support their sustainable return.”
Returning to Myanmar
The UNHCR spokesperson explained that many of the people on the move long to again live in their own country.
A military coup which took place in February last year, followed by a brutal crackdown on popular protests, has created a political, economic and “profound” human rights crisis across Myanmar, leaving the country in turmoil, the UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet warned earlier this month.
“Many Rohingya refugees continue to express their desire to return home when conditions allow,” he said. “The solutions ultimately lie within Myanmar.”
Meanwhile, UNHCR and its partners maintain a presence in Rakhine State, to support Myanmar in creating the conditions conducive for the refugees to return.
For the first time, the JRP also included humanitarian activities on Bhasan Char, an island in the Bay of Bengal, to which the Bangladesh Government has relocated over 24,000 Rohingya refugees.
“It is critical to continue to scale up essential humanitarian services on the island, including in the areas of health, protection, nutrition, education, and livelihoods and skills building,” underscored the UNHCR official. (UN News)