UNHCR, aid partners call for renewed support for Rohingyas

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DHAKA, May 14, 2021 (BSS) – Ahead of next Tuesday’s (18 May) donor
conference and the launch of the 2021 Joint Response Plan (JRP) for
the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis, UNHCR is calling for renewed
international commitment, support and solidarity for Rohingya
refugees.

The 2021 JRP brings together the efforts of the government of
Bangladesh, and 134 UN agencies and NGO partners to target almost 1.4
million people this year, a UNHCR press release said.

The US$ 943 million plan seeks to meet the needs of more than
880,000 Rohingya refugees and 472,000 Bangladeshis in the surrounding
host communities in Cox’s Bazar district. Most Rohingya refugees, some
740,000, fled violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in 2017.

With the refugee crisis in its fourth year, Bangladesh needs robust
and sustained international support to ensure the safety and wellbeing
of stateless Rohingya refugees. This must not become a forgotten
crisis. Both Rohingya refugees and Bangladesh, having generously
hosted them for decades, must see the world standing with them, the
release said.

Adding to the complexity of this crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has
compounded vulnerabilities for refugees and host communities alike. To
date, the government of Bangladesh, with the support of the
humanitarian community, has effectively managed the COVID-19 response
and the spread of the disease in the Rohingya camps and surrounding
areas, though the trajectory of the virus remains unpredictable.

A coordinated and inclusive response has saved lives. However, it
is critical to ensure the continued delivery of all humanitarian
assistance and protection services.

The needs of Rohingya refugees reach beyond subsistence and
physical safety. Refugees, like any other people, cannot be allowed to
wait for years without access to education and options for a decent
life and a meaningful future.

In order to mitigate the risks of people taking dangerous onward
journeys, more must be done to ensure that refugees have hope in
Bangladesh, and of a future back home in Myanmar. Otherwise, they may
increasingly risk such journeys by land or sea to find a solution
elsewhere.

Last year, the United Nations appealed for more than US$ one
billion to meet the needs of the Rohingya refugees and host
communities in Cox’s Bazar. At the end of 2020, this appeal was just
59.4 percent funded.

“We stress that the international community must not only maintain
support for refugees and their hosts, but also adapt to new and
emerging needs and pursue the search for durable solutions,” UNHCR
spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said.

The search for durable solutions must remain focused on the
voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees
to their homes in Myanmar, when conditions allow them to do so.
However, the ongoing crisis and political instability in Myanmar have
added new layers of complexity to this challenge.

Jointly co-hosted by the government of Bangladesh, the
International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR, the virtual
2021 JRP launch event will highlight the most immediate needs and
ongoing humanitarian response.

The virtual 2021 JRP launch event is scheduled to be held from
10:00 am to 12:00 pm CEST Geneva (2:00pm – 4:00 pm GMT+6 in Dhaka;
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm GMT+7 in Bangkok) on May 18 next.