UNHCR urges Myanmar Bangladesh to give Rohingya youth a future

first_imgFilippo GrandiUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on Monday called upon the international community to continue their support to Bangladesh over Rohingya refugees.He also urged the leadership of Bangladesh and Myanmar — prime minister Sheikh Hasina and state counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi — to give young Rakhine Muslims a future, reports UNB.”I spoke to people, especially young people (in Kutupalang camp). They didn’t tell me I want more food, more blankets and more medicines. They told me — give us a future. That’s the message to both leaders (Hasina and Suu Kyi),” Grandi told a press conference at a city hotel in the evening.The UNHCR chief emphasised on implementation of citizenship verification process ‘efficiently and rapidly’ which will help unblock all the remaining barriers to the solution.He said they have technical expertise in verifying citizenship, and they will further discuss with Myanmar government how they can support in this process.Earlier in the day, he visited refugee camp Kutupalang in Cox’s Bazar district.Responding to a question on relocation plan to an island, the UNHCR chief said this is just a plan and the focus needs to be given on voluntary relocation instead of imposing force.”We always advise governments to verify two things — wherever refugees are relocated there are opportunities,” he said adding that relocating from a bad place to another bad one does not fulfil the purpose.Secondly, the UNHCR chief said, this relocation needs to be voluntary as the refugees cannot be forced at all.On repatriation process, he laid emphasis on creating a conducive and peaceful environment in Rakhine State to make the return sustainable.He said the process will not be sustainable if the refugees do not feel to go back to their homeland.Talking about his meeting with prime minister Sheikh Hasina, he said he thanked the government and the people of Bangladesh for hosting Myanmar refugees here for decades.Grandi said Bangladesh has many challenges — from development, climate change and economic fronts and they along with other organisations will continue to support Bangladesh and the community who are hosting refugees living in very fragile area.He said he is very “impressed” for being able to meet both Hasina and Suu Kyi, and described them “strong and clear minded visionary women”.Recalling that both of their fathers were killed, the UNCHR chief said the two leaders are very committed to a very good future for their respective countries.”My message to them — give a future to these young people. One more responsibility we all have to give a future to the people I saw in Cox’s Bazar today and in Myanmar last week,” Grandi added.The UNHCR chief will leave Dhaka on Tuesday. He visited Myanmar and Thailand before coming to Bangladesh.Bangladesh on Saturday urged the UNHCR to ask the government of Myanmar to take ‘meaningful measures’ and ensure the return of all Myanmar nationals staying in Bangladesh to their homeland in Rakhine State.Bangladesh also expressed concern over ‘unilateral halt’ of the repatriation process by the government of Myanmar since 2005 even though 10,820 refugees had been cleared by both countries through a verification process.Foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali conveyed Bangladesh’s position to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi during his meeting.During the meeting, the foreign minister apprised the UN Refugee Agency Chief of the measures taken by the government of Bangladesh to provide humanitarian assistances to Myanmar refugees and the undocumented Myanmar nationals.He also informed the High Commissioner that as many as 236,599 Rakhine Muslims had been repatriated till 2005.The foreign minister thanked the UNHCR for providing valuable support throughout the process of repatriation of this huge number of Myanmar nationals.He stressed that the constant presence of a huge number of Myanmar nationals in Cox’s Bazar has created a number of adverse effects on the overall socio-economic, political, demographic, environmental, and humanitarian and security situation of Cox’s Bazar and adjacent districts.The UN High Commissioner for Refugees commended the government of Bangladesh for being benevolent to host a large number of Myanmar nationals for a long time as well as for providing the humanitarian assistances to them.He underscored that the root cause of the instability in Rakhine State lies in the expropriation of citizenship of the Rakhine Muslims.The foreign minister thanked the high commissioner for undertaking the visit to Bangladesh and assured him of all sorts of cooperation during his mission to Cox’s Bazar.At least 74,000 Rohingya Muslims, out of 92,000, who fled indiscriminate killings, rape, arson and violence by Myanmar security forces in Rakhine State, entered Bangladesh since 9 October, 2016.The number of refugees from Myanmar rose to 490,300 by the end of last year, up from 451,800 in the previous year, with Bangladesh hosting the largest number of 276,200, according to the report published by UNHCR ahead of the World Refugee Day.Out of the 276,200 refugees, 243,000 are in a refugee-like situation. The Bangladesh government, however, estimates the population to be between 300,000 and 500,000.Grandi, after concluding his visit to Myanmar, called for inclusive and sustainable solutions to protracted displacement and statelessness.last_img

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