UNHCR head asks Asia-Pacific leaders to show 'solidarity' with Rohingyas

WION Web Team
United States Published: Aug 08, 2018, 01:18 PM(IST)

A Rohingya refugee boy carries water in the Kutupalong refugee camp, in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Photograph:( Reuters )

The UN refugee agency head has directed the government representatives and business leaders from the Asia-Pacific region to provide more support and protection to over millions of Rohingya refugees who had to flee Myanmar in 2017.

Addressing the Seventh Ministerial Conference of the Bali Process in Indonesia, head of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi urged the representatives of 26 countries to provide support to Bangladesh until any solution is found. 

He said, "I urge you to consider what support your Governments could pledge in solidarity with Bangladesh until solutions are found for refugees".

Grandi further asked the countries to work towards comprehensive solutions for the people of Rakhine State, so that they are not forced to move out in the first place. 

The Bali Process is a forum made up of 48 Governments and four international organisations -- including UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) -- which was set up to enable dialogue and discussion on issues relating to people-smuggling, human trafficking and related cross-border crime.

In March 2016, the Bali Declaration was adopted, highlighting the need for a comprehensive collective approach to resolve statelessness, invest in inclusive development, and expand safe pathways so that refugees and migrants would have legal alternatives to putting their lives at risk while on the move. 

The UN refugee agency head also urged governments to support the refugees and provide them basic amenities in Bangladesh.

"That will treat refugees but also improve the health care of local people? Can we conceive of development, trade, and migration-related measures to help the people and Government of Bangladesh shoulder the responsibility of hosting some 900,000 refugees, such as expanding guest worker quotas for Bangladeshis that would increase remittances, or reducing tariffs on garment exports from Bangladesh?"

Appealing for regional support to address the real root cause of displacement the UNHCR chief advocated for measures to unite the different communities. 

He also said that the "real solution" lies in Myanmar itself. 

The High Commissioner also addressed business leaders of major corporations who attended the Conference as part of the Bali Process Government and Business Forum, a public-private partnership to expand legal labour migration and combat human trafficking.

Over 700,000 Rohingya Muslims had to flee their homes in Myanmar's Rakhine state since August 2017 to escape the widespread execution of the minority community. The major part of the refugees fled to Bangladesh.


(With inputs from PTI)

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