The United Nations has expressed deep concerns over the humanitarian impact of / continuing and escalated violence / in Chin and Rakhine states of Myanmar.
Many civilians are reportedly forced to flee both internally and across the border into Bangladesh. UN said that its Refugee Agency stands ready to support the humanitarian response in affected areas in Myanmar.
UNHCR has also offered support to the Government of Bangladesh to assess and respond to the needs of people who have arrived and are seeking safety from violence in Myanmar.
Farhan Haq, UN’s Deputy Spokesperson said, “UNHCR is grateful to Bangladesh for its generosity and the leadership it has shown in receiving more than 720,000 refugees from Myanmar since August 2017.”
“The agency calls on the Bangladesh authorities to continue to allow people fleeing violence in Myanmar to seek safety in Bangladesh.”
In the meanwhile, UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie has visited Bangladesh for the first time where she met with Rohingya refugees and heard their harrowing stories first-hand.
The Cox’s Bazar District in Bangladesh is now home to nearly one million Rohingya refugees.
After decades of persecution and discrimination, many said they feel safe there, but their futures remain uncertain – including their ability to return to their homes in safety with citizenship rights.
The last peace
Twenty-two-year-old Mujib arrived at Cox’s Bazar in 2016, with his father, seven siblings and his wife. His mother was taken during their flight.
Mujib’s father died of natural causes a few days ago. He said he feels that he has a great deal of responsibility on his shoulders at a young age.
Hosni is a 25-year-old-widow with two young boys, five and three. Her husband was shot in front of her eyes in their home in Myanmar in 2016.
“God knows when I was in my mother’s womb, was the last, I was at peace in Myanmar”, she explained her experiences.
Hosni said her whole village was burnt down, and they escaped to Bangladesh. She says she will only return to her home in Myanmar if the people feel safe and protected there.
“Without proper justice, we can’t go back to Myanmar. We would rather die here.”
The Kutupalong is now world’s largest refugee camp. Some of the camp’s residents came as early as 1991, but the vast majority arrived since August 2017, as people fled violence and attacks on their homes. Many were killed.
Farhara, member of focus group at BRAC Community Centre and a Rohingya refugee herself don’t want to remember the experiences, “what happened to us, not only to us, but also to our children cannot be forgotten.”
Rohingya in exile
The scale of the displacement is now so large that there are twice as many Rohingya living in exile than in Myanmar itself.
Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) shared her experiences of meeting Rohingya refugees.
“It was deeply upsetting to meet the families who have only known persecution and statelessness their whole lives, who speak of being ‘treated like cattle.’ “I am therefore thankful that here in Bangladesh, Rohingya refugees have their existence recognized, and are being provided by the Government and UNHCR with documentation and proof of identity.”
“I am therefore thankful that here in Bangladesh, Rohingya refugees have their existence recognized, and are being provided by the Government and UNHCR with documentation and proof of identity.”
AngelinaJolie said Rohingya had been denied their most basic human right -that is – citizenship in their country of birth.
Angelina Jolie also stressed that the responsibility to ensure the rights of the Rohingya people and their return to Rakhine State lies squarely with the government and the authorities in Myanmar.