In light of escalating tensions in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has urged Bangladesh not to turn back Rohingyas fleeing the violence, while also communicating its readiness to support Bangladesh in helping the Rohingya flee.
UNHCR Chief Spokesperson Adrian Edwards made the call on Tuesday at a press conference held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, according to a UNHCR press release.
"UNHCR is aware of several reported instances of people being prevented from entering Bangladesh. This poses very grave risk to the individuals affected. Bangladesh has hosted refugees from Myanmar for decades, and UNHCR believes it is of the utmost importance that it continue to allow Rohingya fleeing violence to seek safety there. UNHCR also calls on the international community to support Bangladesh in doing so, with all necessary aid and other help," Edwards said.
The spokesperson added that aid efforts to provide food, water and medical attention for new arrivals was already underway, through the combined effort of Bangladeshi authorities, local communities, UNHCR partners and NGOs.
As of Sunday, it was estimated that some 5,200 people had entered Bangladesh from Myanmar over the five days since Thursday, the press release said, adding that thousands more refugees had taken position along the border.
The press release follows in the wake of comments made by UN Secretary General on Monday, when he condemned the violence in the Rakhine state.