Thursday, January 17, 2019 | ePaper

Rohingyas are victims of ethnic cleansing, says UN chief

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said Rohingyas are victims of ethnic cleansing and the world has failed them.
In a write-up published in The Washington Post on Jul 10, the UN secretary general has recounted the ordeal and the bone-chilling experiences he heard from Rohingya refugees who had fled widespread killings in Myanmar's Rakhine state and sought refuge in Bangladesh. "Small children butchered in front of their parents. Girls and women gang-raped while family members were tortured and killed. Villages burned to the ground," Guterres wrote.
"These victims of what has been rightly called ethnic cleansing are suffering an anguish that can only stir a visitor's heartbreak and anger. Their horrific experiences defy comprehension, yet they are the reality for nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees." Guterres wrote that the Rohingya population has been left with two dreadful options through the systematic human rights abuses: stay on in fear of death or leave everything simply to survive. Describing Rohingyas as the world's fastest-growing refugee crisis, he applauded people and the government of Bangladesh for their humanity shown by opening their borders and hearts to the Rohingyas, while larger and wealthier countries around the world are closing doors to outsiders.
However, he stressed the need of a global response to the crisis adding a Global Compact on Refugees is on the way by UN member states to help Bangladesh in responding to a fleeing wave of humanity.
An international humanitarian appeal for almost $1 billion is funded at only 26 percent-a shortfall    causing malnutrition, lack of access to water and sanitation and basic education and of course inadequate measures to combat monsoon risks, according to the UN secretary general. Guterres welcomed World Bank President Jim Yong Kim's effort in mobilising the bank's $480 million in grant-based support to Rohingya refugees and their hosts although he noted that more is required from the international community. Guterres quoted one distraught but determined woman as saying: "We need security in Myanmar and citizenship. And we want justice for what our sisters, our daughters, our mothers have suffered." He urged Myanmar to create the conditions for the return of the refugees with full rights and the promise of living in safety and dignity.

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