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UN stops short of backing Rohingya camps' fencing

FE REPORT | October 10, 2019 00:00:00

The United Nations has yet to support the government's move to fence the Rohingyas camps in Cox's Bazar, said its resident coordinator Mia Seppo on Wednesday.

She made the revelation at an event organised by the Diplomatic Correspondents' Association of Bangladesh in the city.

"We need further discussion on the issue," Ms Seppo said, adding the details of the government move, especially the objectives of the project, need to be discussed before the authorities go ahead with the plan.

She, however, expressed her concern over the changes in the narratives on Rohingya in recent times.

She alleged certain quarter is trying to portray the Rohingya as criminals and terrorists suddenly.

"We should realise they are human beings and they have the rights to live like other human beings," she said urging the media to look into the issue.

Ms Seppo also called upon the international community to find a durable solution to the Rohingya crisis by ensuring sustainable repatriation of the Rohingya refugees.

She warned that without creating conducive environment, repatriation would not be sustainable.

It the Rohingya come back after return to Rakhine, it will not be acceptable to the host community too, she argued.

Ms Seppo also stressed the need for ensuring freedom of press and said SDG 16 emphasised the strengthening of institutions, which ensures governance.

Responding to a question, she said the UN is cautious about spending the money meant for supporting the refugees.

She said so far, 69 per cent of the required money for Rohingyas in 2019 has been pledged.

Funding situation is better than previous years, she added.

DCAB president Raheed Ejaz chaired the programme, which was also addressed by its secretary Nurul Islam Hasib.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom on Wednesday pledged additional support for the Rohingya refugees.

During a visit to Bangladesh last week, the UK's international development minister Baroness Sugg announced a further £30 million for the Rohingya in aid on top of her government's previous pledge of £87 million.

This brings the UK's contribution from the start of the crisis in August 2017 to a total of £256 million, said a statement issued by the British High Commission on Wednesday.

International development minister Baroness Sugg visited Bangladesh and Myanmar this week to see first-hand how the UK aid is saving lives - and to pledge new support.

The minister's visit focused on how the UK can help find a lasting solution so that the Rohingya refugees could return to the Rakhine state in Myanmar.

During her trip, Baroness Sugg visited the world's largest refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, and saw how new UK aid will provide food, clean water, shelter and healthcare to the Rohingya and Bangladeshi families in the host communities in the surrounding areas.

Baroness Sugg also visited a women-only safe space within Cox's Bazar, where UK aid is supporting women and girls to access sexual and reproductive health care.

The second leg of her visit took the minister to Myanmar, where she saw how UK aid is helping build a more inclusive society, including through programmes, which train women in essential skills for work.

Reflecting on her visit, she said: Bangladesh has shown great generosity in giving refuge to the Rohingya, but "we must not forget the impact of the crisis on Bangladeshi people too," particularly those living near the camps.

She also noted the new package of support will help both the Rohingya and their host communities in Cox's Bazar.


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