‘Untenable situation’: Bangladesh
GENEVA, Oct 23, (Agencies): Kuwait announced on Monday its commitment to donate $15 million offered by official and public bodies during the International Donor Pledging Conference for the Rohingya Refugees to alleviate their sufferings. This came in a speech by Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah in his speech on the opening of the one-day conference organized by Kuwait in cooperation with the European Union (EU), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), held in Geneva, Switzerland.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is facing an ethical and humanitarian responsibility before being a political or legal one towards the disgusting crimes committed against the Rogingyan people, Al-Jarallah added in his speech. He also called on the authorities in Myanmar to take the needed procedures to avoid such violations as well as applying law, security, freedom of living and transport without any religious or ethical discrimination.
He expressed Kuwait’s gratitude towards the distinguished efforts exerted by Bangladesh in hosting the Rohingya refugees and alleviating their sufferings. Nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees have fled violence in Myanmar, an “untenable situation” for neighbour Bangladesh, the country’s UN envoy said on Monday, calling on Myanmar to let them return. Some 600,000 people have crossed the border since Aug 25, when insurgent attacks on security posts were met by a ferocious counter-offensive by the Myanmar army in Rakhine state which the United Nations has called ethnic cleansing. “This is the biggest exodus from a single country since the Rwandan genocide in 1994,” Shameem Ahsan, Bangladesh’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, told a UN pledging conference. “Despite claims to the contrary, violence in Rakhine state has not stopped. Thousands still enter on a daily basis,” he said. Bangladesh’s interior minister was in Yangon on Monday for talks to find a “durable solution”, Ahsan said.
But Myanmar continued to issue “propaganda projecting Rohingyas as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh”, Ahsan said, adding: “This blatant denial of the ethnic identity of Rohingyas remains a stumbling bloc”. Myanmar considers the Rohingya to be stateless, despite tracing their families’ presence in the country for generations.
The United Nations has appealed for $434 million to provide life-saving aid to 1.2 million people for six months. “We need more money to keep pace with intensifying needs. This is not an isolated crisis, it is the latest round in a decades-long cycle of persecution, violence and displacement,” UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told the talks. “Children, women and men fleeing Myanmar are streaming into Bangladesh traumatised and destitute,” he added. “We assess we have pledges of around $340 million,” Lowcock said before the mid-day break in the meeting. New pledges included 30 million euros announced by the European Union, $15 million by Kuwait, 10 million Australian dollars by Australia and 12 million pounds from Britain.
He reiterated the UN call on Myanmar to allow “full humanitarian access across Rakhine” where aid agencies have been denied entry. Myanmar must “guarantee the right to safe, voluntary and dignified return so that the Rohingya can live in peace with their human rights upheld in Rakhine”, Lowcock said. The UN opened a major fundraising conference on Monday aimed at securing some of the $434 million aid groups say is needed to care for Myanmar’s Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. The funds will benefit the 900,000 refugees as well as roughly 300,000 local people from Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar area on the Myanmar border.