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UN refugee chief visits Bangladesh, seeks continued international support for Rohingyas

For Bangladesh, the challenges of hosting the Rohingyas are only growing amid the resource crunch, a growing rate of crimes, and drug smuggling in the refugee camps.

May 26, 2022
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UN refugee chief visits Bangladesh, seeks continued international support for Rohingyas (Photo: UN)

The world must remember the crisis that Rohingya refugees and their hosts have been facing for the last five years, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee Filippo Grandi said after he wrapped up his five-day visit to Bangladesh which is hosting over a million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

During his visit, Grandi visited refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char island in Bangladesh and held discussions with the government officials. He also lauded Dhaka for its support for hosting and providing Covid-19 vaccines to Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state in 2017, escaping a brutal military crackdown. 

“The world must work to address the root causes of their flight and to translate those dreams into reality,” Grandi said after finishing his visit while appealing for sustained and predictable support for both Rohingya refugees and their host communities.

“Bangladesh, which has led in assisting nearly a million refugees, remains a priority partner for UNHCR, but continued international support is crucial to provide life-saving assistance and build hope,” he said in a statement released on Wednesday.

According to estimates, the Joint Response Plan for 2022, which requires over $800 million in funding to support the Rohingya refugees, is only 13 percent funded by this month. Refugees’ lives, he added, depend on international support and attention.

Dhaka has long been pushing for the safe and dignified return of these refugees back to Myanmar. However, its plan for their repatriation suffered a blow last year when the Myanmar military seized power, scuttling the talks that Dhaka had been holding with the erstwhile civilian government.

For Bangladesh, the challenges of hosting the Rohingyas are only growing amid the resource crunch, a growing rate of crimes, and drug smuggling in the refugee camps. 

State capacity and infrastructure as well are pushed to their limits as almost the entire refugee population lives in congested camps which remain vulnerable to natural disasters like fire, floods, landslides, and cyclones. 

(SAM) 

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