COX’S BAZAR, BANGLADESH (August 21, 2019) — Nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees are still waiting for justice and a say about their future, two years after being forced from their homes by mass atrocities in Myanmar, and are struggling for safety and dignity in Bangladesh as refugees. In a joint statement released today, 61 local, national and international humanitarian organizations working in the two countries, including CARE, called for human rights for all to be recognized in Rakhine State and for Rohingya refugees to have a role in decision-making about their own lives, including conditions for their return to Myanmar.
The aid organizations voiced strong concerns about the safety of affected families in Rakhine State, including Rohingya, as the conflict escalates and humanitarian access remains limited. They urged the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar to ensure that any return process be safe, voluntary and dignified, as news of the possible expedited repatriation of 3,450 Rohingya refugees circulated this week.
For the past two years, humanitarian organizations have assisted the government of Bangladesh and UN agencies to effectively provide life-sustaining support to people living in the world’s largest refugee camp. Their collective efforts have stabilized camp conditions, strengthened monsoon preparedness and helped prevent disease outbreaks. But more needs to be done. The agencies called on the international community to increase funding for the humanitarian response in Bangladesh and Myanmar to improve the lives of refugees and host communities, as well as internally displaced persons.
“CARE has been supporting the refugees to live a safe and dignified life since they arrived in Bangladesh two years ago,” said Zia Choudhury, CARE’s Country Director in Bangladesh. “We work with local communities, local organizations and the government of Bangladesh to provide clean water, safe latrines, strong shelters and medical services. CARE has focused on helping women and girls, who face specific challenges in the camps. We provide them with safe, women-only spaces where they can get specialist advice, counselling, training, or even just sit with friends and have a cup of tea and play some board games. Until the refugees can safely return home, we need to work hard to maintain the current services, and also protect them from the cyclones and flooding which are regular events in Bangladesh.”
In Bangladesh, CARE was one of the first responders to the arrival of large number of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar two years ago with emergency food, transitional shelter and water/sanitation facilities. “After two years, while CARE remains committed to working with the Government of Bangladesh to ensure that living conditions in the refugee camps continue to improve, we equally look forward to a smooth repatriation process of the refugees back to their homeland, which is both safe and voluntary, which is done through an inclusive decision making process by engaging with all sections of the refugee community,” stated Ram Das, CARE’s Assistant Country Director for Humanitarian Response in Bangladesh. “Moreover, we are committed to ensuring that their rights to a dignified life and livelihood are supported.”
- In Myanmar, some 128,000 displaced Rohingya, and other Muslim communities, have been confined to camps in Rakhine State since 2012, unable to return home.
- In Bangladesh, refugee children need access to more robust educational services.
- More than 25,000 children are out of school. Additionally, 97 per cent of adolescents aged 15 to 18 years do not attend any type of educational facility.
- In Bangladesh, the percentage of host community households living on less than USD 60 a month spiked from 10 to 22 percent after the refugee influx in August 2017.
Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than seven decades of experience delivering emergency aid during times of crisis. Our emergency responses focus on the needs of the most vulnerable populations, particularly girls and women. Last year CARE worked in 84 countries and reached 122 million people around the world. To learn more, visit CARE’s website.
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