Solution to Rohingya crisis lies with Myanmar: UNHCR chief

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DHAKA, Sept 25, 2017 (BSS) – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi today categorically said that solution of the Rohingya crisis lies with Myanmar and called for stopping violence against Rohingya people.

“Return of Rohingya people to their country must be in a dignified and safe manner,” he told a press conference in a city hotel after visiting Kutupalong Refugee camp and other camps in Cox’s Bazar district.

While narrating his experiences at the Rohingya Refugee camps, Grandi said, “The situation of Rohingya refugees is extremely difficult…. Urgent needs this time are humanitarian supports to the Rohingya refugees.”

Referring to the UN’s preliminary appeal for 77 million US dollar, he said, “I think this fund is not enough to address crisis of Rohingya refugees. The figure will be much higher after real assessment of their needs.”

The UNHCR chief called for support to be ramped up for more than 400,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar in the last month, and the communities hosting them, and commended the government and people of Bangladesh for their hospitality.

“Their situation remains desperate, and we risk a dramatic deterioration if aid is not rapidly stepped up. The people I met were deeply traumatized, and despite having found refuge in Bangladesh, they are still exposed to enormous hardship,” he said on the final day of his visit to Bangladesh.

“The spontaneous outpouring of support from the local community, and people, companies and association across the country has been phenomenal,” he said, noting that the government had mobilized efforts at all levels and that UNHCR and other partners are also scaling up.

“Despite every effort by those on the ground, the massive influx of people seeking safety rapidly outpaced capacities to respond and the situation is still not stabilized. More is needed and fast, we are to avoid further deterioration,” Grandi said.

UNHCR has now airlifted four planes loaded with relief items into the country, and is distributing emergency shelter kits, kitchen sets and solar lamps, he said adding, “Our experts are working closely with the government to set up an organized site with water, sanitation and other facilities and to register the new arrivals.”

Other international agencies and NGO’s are also on the ground playing an important role, the UNHRC chief added.

“I thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and I thank Bangladesh for keeping its borders open to receive these refugees. In today’s world that is something that cannot be taken and should be appreciated,” he added.

Grandi said, “I talked to the people (Rohingya refugees) who had experienced the most unimaginable horrors….. They had seen villages burned down, families shot or hacked to death, women and girls brutalized.”

The report issued in August by the Rakhine Advisory Commission, led by Kofi Annan, provides an important roadmap for addressing the root causes that have contributed to the current crisis, he added.

In reply to a question, the UNHCR Chief said, “Right now, we are focusing on humanitarian supports to avoid any catastrophic situation of Rohingya people. I call on international community and donor agency to extend their humanitarian supports to meet immediate needs of Rohingya people.

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