• Friday, Jan 24, 2020
  • Last Update : 04:27 pm

Rohingya crisis: 3 top UN officials arrive Wednesday

  • Published at 07:08 pm April 22nd, 2019
File photo of Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp in Ukhiya, Cox's Bazar Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The delegation will travel to Cox’s Bazar to meet with refugees

With no progress in sight in regards to the protracted Rohingya crisis, Bangladesh is going to receive yet another high-profile group of dignitaries from the United Nations (UN), which, according to many, has failed hundreds of thousands of persecuted people from Myanmar's Rakhine State.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi, Director General of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) António Vitorino and UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock will arrive in Dhaka on Wednesday on a three-day visit to Bangladesh.

The objective of the joint visit is "to highlight the ongoing need for support for the humanitarian needs of almost a million Rohingya refugees," a UNHCR press release said on Monday.

Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, government officials concerned did not appear to be optimistic about any qualitative changes to the ongoing crisis due to this kind of high-profile visit.

The country witnessed many visits similar to this, but the situation remains as it was in the beginning of the latest crisis in August, 2017, they said.

All the UN needs to do is to put pressure on Myanmar to take their people back, and that is something the global body is not doing or unable to do, they added.

“The situation remains the same. I do not see any visible progress in terms of the repatriation of the Rohingyas,” Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Abdul Kalam based in Cox’s Bazar said while speaking to Dhaka Tribune.

“The visit of three top UN personnel will undoubtedly attract the attention of global media. Apart from this, I do not know if it will have any impact which may make things better in regards to the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas,” he said.  

In Dhaka, the delegation will hold talks with senior government officials in Dhaka—including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen—to explore the ways the international community can provide further assistance to Bangladesh as hosts to the Rohingya, said the UNHCR release.

They will then travel to Cox’s Bazar to meet with Rohingyas, assess preparations underway ahead of the monsoon season, and visit projects - including those involving food distribution and shelters.

The delegation members will also meet refugees who are working as volunteers, and observe a UNHCR-Government of Bangladesh registration exercise, designed to provide identity cards to all refugees, ensuring their access to aid services and protection as well as establishing their right to return to Myanmar.

The aim of the visit is to highlight the need for continued strong, international, support for the humanitarian response while solutions for the Rohingya are pursued; including the creation of conditions in Myanmar’s Rakhine State that would allow for the voluntary, safe, and dignified return of refugees to their homes.

The delegation will wrap up its visit with a press conference at a hotel in Cox’s Bazar on Friday.