By Manoj Rijal, NEW YORK:- The trend of exodus of refugees fleeing the authoritarian regime of Myanmar for Bangladesh has not taken a name to cease, as the UN Refugee Body, the UNHCR, has stressed that only a lasting solution to the problem could save the minority Rohingya community of Myanmar, earlier known as Burma, from further suffering.
Addressing a press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Andrej Mahecic, Spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees or the UNHCR, said that a solution for the Rohingya community should be sought within Myanmar.
“Ultimately, the solution to the plight of the Rohingya lies in Myanmar, and in comprehensively implementing the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, to which the Government of Myanmar has committed,” Mahecic said.
“Creating conditions that are conducive to the Rohingya people’s safe and sustainable return will require whole of society engagement, resuming and enhancing the dialogue between the Myanmar authorities and Rohingya refugees, as well as other measures that help inspire trust,” he said.
“These include lifting restrictions on freedom of movement, reconfirming that internally displaced Rohingya can return to their own villages and providing a clear pathway towards citizenship.”
Owing to the oppressive anti-minority policy of the Myanmar government, around 75 percent of the total Rohingya populatin of Myanmar is living outside this South East Asian nation, which shares borders with Bangladesh, India, China, Thailand and Laos.
The UNHCR and the Government of Bangladesh have currently registered over 860,000 Rohingya refugees in the refugee camps temporarily built in Cox’s Bazar area of Bangladesh. Besides the official figure, it is estimated that the number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh could be well over one million.
“Bangladesh has demonstrated a profound humanitarian commitment to Rohingya refugees. It has ensured their protection and extended life-saving humanitarian support, and now hosts nine out of ten Rohingya refugees registered in the Asia-Pacific region,” UNHCR Spokesperson Mahecic said.
“This generosity must be acknowledged through continued investment in both Rohingya refugees and the Bangladeshi host communities.”
The UNHCR simultaneously underlined that the hopes and prospects of Rohingya refugees should be preserved beyond the boundaries of Myanmar and Bangladesh.
“Outside of Myanmar, our collective efforts must be directed not only to ensuring the dignity and well-being of the Rohingya today but also on preserving their hopes and improving prospects for their futures,” Mahecic said.
“This means working towards lasting solutions not only in Myanmar itself, but also through study and work opportunities outside of countries of asylum, and third-country pathways for those with the most acute vulnerabilities.”