UNHCR official calls for continued support for Rohingya refugees

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) official called for continued international support for Rohingya refugees and their host country, Bangladesh.

United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees Kelly T. Clements and UNHCR Director for Asia and the Pacific Indrika Ratwatte visited Bangladesh on February 13-18, which included visits to refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, as well as on the island of Bhasan Char, according to a UNHCR statement.

Nearly 750,000 Rohingya Muslims fled a brutal military repression in Rakhine State in Myanmar in August 2017 in Bangladesh, pushing the total number of persecuted people in the worldlargest refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar at around 1.2 million.

The statement said the visit highlighted the need for a more global approach to humanitarianism support.

“This includes alternative solutions for Rohingya refugees such as resettlement in a third countries for the most vulnerable with specific protection overseas needs and complementary pathways which could include employment and education opportunities,” he said.

Clements reiterated UNHCR’s commitment to voluntary repatriation and other solutions.

UNHCR officials also held meetings with senior government officials, locals and international the partners in Bangladesh, and spoke with refugees to understand their needs and challenges.

“While the refugees clearly express the desire to return home or they also feel that their life would be risk if they made it today. Therefore, we also need for start work towards other solutions while redoubling our efforts access to education, skills training and livelihood opportunities for them and their generous host communities,” said Clements.

On their first visit to Bhasan Char, the delegation recognized the positive effects work made by Bangladesh government and local civil society partners on the Island.

“Bhasan Char has the potential to become a temporary stay for Rohingya refugees, and there were clear improvement in conditions and availability of services since the beginning of UNHCR and UN partners supporting the government in October,” Clements said in the statement.

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