Ukraine concerns do not mean Rohingyas be abandoned: UN refugee chief

Dhaka, May 25 (EFE).- The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, Wednesday urged the international community not to forget the Rohingyas amid a new refugee crisis sparked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“I am a bit worried,” Grandi said at a press conference in Dhaka after his five-day visit to Bangladesh.

“There are a bit more needs because there is also Bhasan Char island and now in Ukraine, in Afghanistan and a lot of other competing crises. We struggle a bit,” he said.

He referred to a new funding requirement for the Bangladesh Island, where the government has relocated some 26,000 Rohingya refugees.

“I am here to remind the international community that there is not just Ukraine. I will put maximum pressure on all donor partners,” he said.

“It is important that the world knows this should not be forgotten… Resources are absorbed, especially by the Ukraine emergency.”

Grandi noted that the Ukraine war added a financial burden on the UN agency to support the refugees.

He pointed out that the number of global refugees and the displaced had reached 100 million after the Ukraine war. “It is a terrible indicator of the state of our world.”

Grandi met with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar and the Bhasan Char island.

He reiterated that the solution to the refugee crisis was within Myanmar.

“The Rohingya refugees I met reiterated their desire to return home when conditions allow,” Grandi said.

Bangladesh is home to around 926,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, including some 728,000 who escaped a wave of violence and persecution by the military in August 2017 in a campaign that triggered allegations of ethnic cleansing and genocidal intent.

As the sprawling camps in Cox’s Bazar district became overcrowded, Bangladesh authorities established an alternative campsite at Bhasan Char in the Bay of Bengal for Rohingyas.

The project initially aimed to relocate around 100,000 refugees to Bhasan Char, a flood-prone and previously unpopulated island spread over 40 sq km.

In October 2021, Bangladesh signed an agreement with the UN to provide humanitarian aid to the Rohingyas on the island to improve their living standards and prepare them for a possible return to Myanmar. EFE


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