'Unless we support the efforts of the Bangladesh government to provide immediate aid to the half million people who have arrived over the past month, many of the most vulnerable – women, children and the elderly – will die. They will be the victims of neglect'
The Director General of International Organization for Migration (IOM), William Lacy Swing, has said that inclusive development has to be ensured in Rakhine state of Myanmar for a sustainable peace and stability there.
“There can be no lasting peace in Rakhine without inclusive development. IOM, together with our UN partners, supports the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State established by Myanmar’s Office of the State Counsellor and the Kofi Annan Foundation,” he said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
He also said: “We see this as a roadmap to peaceful co-existence in Rakhine and welcome the Myanmar government’s commitment to implement the Commission’s findings. The first step in the implementation process will be to urgently allow UN agencies to resume their work in Rakhine State.”
Underscoring the need for an immediate response to the Rohingya who have taken refuge in Cox’s Bazar, Swing said: “Unless we support the efforts of the Bangladesh government to provide immediate aid to the half million people who have arrived over the past month, many of the most vulnerable – women, children and the elderly – will die. They will be the victims of neglect.
“For decades the Muslims of Rakhine State, who self-identify as Rohingya, have faced persecution and abuse. And, like other groups around the world, they have reacted with one of the few responses open to them – flight.”
The statement reads: “The world has reacted with horror to the images of their flight, and the stories of murder, rape and arson brought from their still smoldering villages in Rakhine. But this horror will have to be matched by action on the part of the international community, if we are to avert a humanitarian disaster.”
Bangladesh, and IOM and its partners are now struggling to provide adequate shelter, food, clean water, healthcare and protection to the persecuted people, and five weeks on from the start of the crisis, funding has started to arrive, but much more will be needed, the UN migration agency chief said, adding that they had appealed for $120 million to address the humanitarian crisis.
Swing also said: “The money is desperately needed for shelter and non-food relief items, site development, site management, water and sanitation, health, protection, coordination, and communication and feedback in the settlements.
“…a lack of protection will make the refugees – particularly women and children – targets for human traffickers.”