Ankara, MINA — UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said on Tuesday it would be nearly impossible for the Rohingya to return to their homes in the Rakhine state if Myanmar fails to ensure their rights, Anadolu Agency reported.
Grandi made the remarks during a live Facebook meeting alongside UNHCR chief spokesperson Melissa Fleming on Tuesday at the Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazaar.
When the refugees were asked what they need during their visit to the camp, Grandi said they unanimously said they want Myanmar to give them their rights.
“It is very interesting. Of course, their houses are destroyed, their lands have been taken away and all those material needs must be met.
“But all of them said one thing unanimously: We need our rights. We need to be able to move in our homeland, we cannot be discriminated. Above all, we need citizenship.”
He said the Rohingya are not just refugees “but they are stateless and they were deprived of their citizenship”.
“They want to feel a sense of identity, when they go back home. If that is not possible, my analysis is that it would be very difficult, if not impossible.”
The UN high commissioner spent two days touring the camp in Bangladesh, including a day with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
Last year, the camp housed more than 700,000 Rohingya people who had fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar.
Comparing his last visit to the camp on September 2017, Grandi said the camp was now much more organized.
“It is still overwhelming. This is still the biggest concentration of refugees in one place in the entire world,” Grandi said.
Need for better education
The UN high commissioner added that because the camp was at a hilly location and Monsoon rains could get present a “tough” situation, the camp continues to face big challenges.
Grandi also said he had visited a school in the refugee camp. “It is still very much ad hoc education.
“Kids go from 6-year-olds to 9-year-olds all together, without grade differences,” he said, adding that children only go to the school for two hours.
He also said children back home were not be able to receive proper education because they are a “Rohingya community, which is a very discriminated community”.
He said the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim had announced a “big package of funding” for the refugees, saying that one big element of this funding will be for education.
“We cannot lose a generation of refugees,” he said.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, some 750,000 Rohingya, mostly children and women, have fled to bordering Bangladesh after Myanmar forces began a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to Amnesty International.
At least 9,400 Rohingya were killed in Myanmar’s Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, 2017, according to Doctors Without Borders.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said on Tuesday it would be nearly impossible for the Rohingya to return to their homes in the Rakhine state if Myanmar fails to ensure their rights.
Grandi made the remarks during a live Facebook meeting alongside UNHCR chief spokesperson Melissa Fleming on Tuesday. (T/RS5/RS1)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)