UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency on Friday reiterated its continued support to the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, underlining the need to build resilience and invest in refugees’ capacities in preparation for a future safe and voluntary return to Myanmar.
Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, Kelly T. Clements called for continued international support for Rohingya refugees and the government of Bangladesh. As the Rohingya crisis approaches its fifth year now, Clements reiterated UNHCR’s commitment towards voluntary repatriation and other solutions.
Clements and UNHCR Director for Asia and the Pacific Indrika Ratwatte had visited Bangladesh from 13 to 18 February and visited refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, where some one million Rohingya refugees reside, the agency said in a statement.
Clements and Ratwatte also visited the island of Bhasan Char, and met with senior government officials, local and international partners, discussing issues related to the refugees and others,
“They reiterated their sincere appreciation to the government and people of Bangladesh for hosting Rohingya refugees who have sought protection from violence and persecution in Myanmar,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, they emphasized the need to continue working towards the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar, according to the statement.
The delegation spoke with refugees to understand their needs and challenges, and the contributions they wish to make to their own future.
“While refugees clearly express a desire to return home, they also feel their lives would be at risk if they did so today. Therefore, we also need to start working towards other solutions while redoubling efforts to provide access to education, skills training, and livelihood opportunities for them and their generous host communities,” Clements added.
Meanwhile, Ratwatte said providing youth with more learning opportunities, tools and skills will allow them to build peaceful communities and contribute to a safe environment.
The UNHCR also called on the international community to stand by the government of Bangladesh until the situation in Myanmar allows for a safe, dignified, and sustainable return of the Rohingya refugees.
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