'The world must not forget their plight'
British MP Rushanara Ali has said the international community needs to redouble its efforts to address the immediate needs of the Rohingyas, and find a political solution for the protracted Rohingya crisis.
“As the crisis continues, the world must not forget their plight,” she said on Monday, adding that Rohingyas can only rebuild their lives safely and securely with extensive support.
Only a third of the United Nations’ (UN) funding appeal has been fulfilled.
The British Prime Minister's trade envoy, Rushanara, visited refugee camps in Cox's Bazar on July 26-27—where almost a million people are crammed into an area less than five square miles in size.
She said ties between the UK and Bangladesh remain strong, and the UK government is uniquely positioned to provide support for the Rohingyas.
“The generosity of Bangladeshis and the residents of Cox’s Bazar have been remarkable, and the long-term needs of the poverty-stricken locals, who themselves live in challenging circumstances, should be considered crucial to future plans,” she added.
The Myanmar army carried out a series of attacks on the Rohingya population, beginning on August 25, 2017 in the country’s Rakhine state. This forced hundreds of people to flee for their lives and cross the border into Bangladesh.
Rushanara also visited a women’s centre and International Rescue Committee mobile medical team. Equipped with a delivery ward, and featuring counseling for women and girls who have undergone trauma, these also provide other essential services for refugees.
She also paid a visit to a community centre operated by UNHCR and BRAC, where caseworkers help relocate refugees that are the most vulnerable to flooding and landslides. She then attended a meeting with Rohingya and Bangladeshi representatives organized by International Organization for Migration.
During the visit, Rushanara said, "Constant rain during this monsoon season has created a calamitous environment for Rohingyas, with landslides already destroying shelters and injuring people.”
She also said local and international agencies are doing a commendable job in the face of adverse circumstances.
August will mark both the one-year anniversary of the Rohingya exodus, and the peak of the monsoon in Cox’s Bazar, with heavy rains continuing and cyclone season following soon after.
“Rohingyas have faced horrors that are inconceivable for most others. I have heard stories of systematic discrimination over many years. During last year’s attacks, there were even cases of sons being separated from their fathers and murdered by soldiers; daughters being taken away to be raped and killed; and families being separated while fleeing in terror—with their houses being burned down.”