Sunday, April 21, 2019 | ePaper
UNHCR for continuing talks on Rohingya relocation plan
Assistant High Commissioner for Protection at UNHCR Volker Türk on Thursday laid emphasis on continuing discussion on the Rohingya relocation plan making sure that it is done on a voluntary basis.
"UN has had very constructive discussion with the government of Bangladesh on the issue of relocation and it's important for us to continue this discussion," he told reporters at a media briefing at a city hotel in the evening.
Bangladesh has planned to relocate Rohingyas to Bhasanchar island in Noakhali from Cox's Bazar camps with required facilities for them there.
Bangladesh is currently hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas.
Türk laid emphasis on creating required conditions in Rakhine State of Myanmar for safe, dignified and voluntary return of Rohingyas to their place of origin.
Terming the situation in Rakhine very complex, he said they do not have access to Northern Rakhine at the moment though they were able to get access to 60 villages in 2018.
UNHCR assistant high commissioner said it is important that there is sustained attention of the international community to help Bangladesh manage the Rohingya issue here.
He concluded his visit to Bangladesh following high-level discussions with the government of Bangladesh on the pursuit of solutions to the Rohingya refugee crisis.
During his five-day visit, Türk was accompanied by the Agency's Director of the Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, Indrika Ratwatte, and the Director of External Relations, Dominique Hyde.
He met many Rohingyas in the Kutupalong refugee settlement - the world's largest one - and discussed how they see their futures.
Türk also met the key government officials, who have led the Rohingya response in Cox's Bazar district, to review the challenges they are facing and the opportunities they see as the response evolves.
In Dhaka, Türk held high-level talks with the government of Bangladesh that focused on finding solutions fostering the development of conditions for the voluntary, safe and dignified return of refugees to Myanmar.
They also discussed ways to expand opportunities of the Rohingya refugees to build their skills and knowledge, particularly so they are able to contribute to society in Myanmar when they are able to return.
UNHCR assistant high commissioner said he was encouraged by and deeply appreciative of the government's unrelenting commitment to finding solutions and improving the situation for the Rohingya.
"UNHCR and the government have agreed to focus and strengthen collective efforts that can lead to tangible improvements in their lives, in particular women and girls at risk," he added.
UNHCR's discussions with the government also focused on the importance of supporting Bangladeshi host communities.
Türk said the people of Bangladesh and, especially those living in Ukhiya and Teknaf in Cox's Bazar district, were the first responders in 2017, and they have continued to show a tremendous humanitarian spirit and generosity.
"The impacts of the Rohingya refugee presence on their lives must be recognised and addressed," he said.
While in Cox's Bazar, Türk visited one of five centres in the Kutupalong settlements where a joint government-UNHCR registration exercise is being scaled up to provide biometric ID cards for all Rohingyas.
The cards provide enhanced protection and make the delivery of humanitarian assistance and services more effective and efficient.
Registration and documentation will also play a key role in confirming that individuals who have been displaced from Myanmar have the right to return to their country when it is safe for them to do so.