Current News

    BANGLADESH: UNHCR calls on Dhaka to open border

    BANGKOK,
    29 October 2012 (IRIN) – The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has called on
    Bangladesh to open its borders to Rohingyas fleeing sectarian
    violence in Myanmar.


    “UNHCR continues to consider that until
    public order and security are restored for all communities in
    [Myanmar’s] Rakhine State, states should not forcibly return to
    Myanmar persons originating from Rakhine State,” Pia Paguio, senior
    protection officer and officer-in-

     charge
    of UNHCR in Dhaka, told IRIN on 29 October. “We thus continue to
    appeal to the government of Bangladesh to open its borders to those
    in need of a safe haven.”

    Under Burmese law, the Rohingya –
    a persecuted minority of 800,000 – are de jure stateless in Myanmar
    and face constant persecution, while in Muslim-majority Bangladesh
    they are viewed as illegal migrants.Bangladesh has
    repeatedly said it will not accept any Rohingya refugees fleeing
    ethnic violence in neighbouring Myanmar’s western Rakhine
    State.

    Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled persecution
    in Myanmar over the past three decades, the vast majority to
    Bangladesh in the 1990s.Displacement
    rising

    According
    to Burmese government estimates released on 29 October, more than
    28,000 residents have been displaced in Rakhine State following a
    week of deadly sectarian violence between Rohingya Muslims and ethnic
    (mainly Buddhist) Rakhine which began on 21 October.

    At least
    76 people were killed, and more than 4,600 houses and several
    religious buildings destroyed, in the unrest, the UN reported on 29
    October
    .
    There was violence in the Rakhine State townships of Kyaukpyu,
    Kyauktaw, Minbya, Mrauk-U, Myebon, Pauktaw, Ramree and
    Rathedaung.
    Tensions had
    increased after monks, and women’s and youth groups organized
    anti-Rohingya and anti-Organization of Islamic Cooperation
    demonstrations in Sittwe, Mandalay and Yangon, the report said.

    The
    latest displacement comes on top of the 75,000, mostly Rohingya
    Muslims, currently displaced after communal violence erupted
    in June following
    the alleged rape and murder of a Rakhine woman by a group of Muslim
    men in May.

    At least 78 people were killed and close to 5,000
    homes and buildings were destroyed in that incident.

    Most of
    the displaced are currently in nine overcrowded camps in Sittwe,
    separated from the rest of the community due to security
    concerns.Closed
    border
    There
    are more than 200,000 Rohingya in Bangladesh today, including more
    than 30,000 documented refugees living in two government-run camps
    (Kutupalong and Nayapara) within 2km of the Burmese border, according
    to UNHCR. BANGKOK, 29 October 2012 (IRIN) – The UN Refugee
    Agency (UNHCR) has called on Bangladesh to open its borders to
    Rohingyas fleeing sectarian violence in Myanmar.

    “UNHCR
    continues to consider that until public order and security are
    restored for all communities in [Myanmar’s] Rakhine State, states
    should not forcibly return to Myanmar persons originating from
    Rakhine State,” Pia Paguio, senior protection officer and
    officer-in-charge of UNHCR in Dhaka, told IRIN on 29 October. “We
    thus continue to appeal to the government of Bangladesh to open its
    borders to those in need of a safe haven.”

    Under Burmese
    law, the Rohingya – a persecuted minority of 800,000 – are de jure
    stateless in Myanmar and face constant persecution, while in
    Muslim-majority Bangladesh they are viewed as illegal
    migrants.Bangladesh has
    repeatedly said it will not accept any Rohingya refugees fleeing
    ethnic violence in neighbouring Myanmar’s western Rakhine
    State.

    Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled persecution
    in Myanmar over the past three decades, the vast majority to
    Bangladesh in the 1990s.Displacement
    rising

    According
    to Burmese government estimates released on 29 October, more than
    28,000 residents have been displaced in Rakhine State following a
    week of deadly sectarian violence between Rohingya Muslims and ethnic
    (mainly Buddhist) Rakhine which began on 21 October.

    At least
    76 people were killed, and more than 4,600 houses and several
    religious buildings destroyed, in the unrest, the UN reported on 29
    October
    .
    There was violence in the Rakhine State townships of Kyaukpyu,
    Kyauktaw, Minbya, Mrauk-U, Myebon, Pauktaw, Ramree and
    Rathedaung.
    Tensions had
    increased after monks, and women’s and youth groups organized
    anti-Rohingya and anti-Organization of Islamic Cooperation
    demonstrations in Sittwe, Mandalay and Yangon, the report said.

    The
    latest displacement comes on top of the 75,000, mostly Rohingya
    Muslims, currently displaced after communal violence erupted
    in June following
    the alleged rape and murder of a Rakhine woman by a group of Muslim
    men in May.

    At least 78 people were killed and close to 5,000
    homes and buildings were destroyed in that incident.

    Most of
    the displaced are currently in nine overcrowded camps in Sittwe,
    separated from the rest of the community due to security
    concerns.Closed
    border
    There
    are more than 200,000 Rohingya in Bangladesh today, including more
    than 30,000 documented refugees living in two government-run camps
    (Kutupalong and Nayapara) within 2km of the Burmese border, according
    to UNHCR.

    UNHCR has not been permitted to register newly
    arriving Rohingya since mid-1992. Most Rohingya are living in
    villages and towns in the Cox’s Bazar area and receive little to no
    assistance as the agency is only allowed to assist those who are
    documented.

    UNHCR does not have access to the 193km
    Myanmar-Bangladesh border to verify the situation of persons arriving
    from Rakhine State. Moreover, Bangladesh’s closed border policy
    remains in effect.

    Despite repeated advocacy efforts by UNHCR,
    civil society and the diplomatic community, Dhaka, fearing a major
    influx, closed its borders to persons fleeing communal violence
    Myanmar in June.

    Those who did manage to make it across the
    border were rounded up and sent back to Myanmar. However, there are
    no reliable figures on the number of arrivals and the number
    refouled.

    Bangladesh is not a signatory to the 1951
    Refugee Convention
     or
    its 1967 Protocol.

    “UNHCR reiterates its readiness to
    provide protection and assistance to the governments and the people
    of Bangladesh and Myanmar in addressing this evolving humanitarian
    situation,” said Paguino.  
    UNHCR
    has not been permitted to register newly arriving Rohingya since
    mid-1992. Most Rohingya are living in villages and towns in the Cox’s
    Bazar area and receive little to no assistance as the agency is only
    allowed to assist those who are documented.

    UNHCR does not
    have access to the 193km Myanmar-Bangladesh border to verify the
    situation of persons arriving from Rakhine State. Moreover,
    Bangladesh’s closed border policy remains in effect.

    Despite
    repeated advocacy efforts by UNHCR, civil society and the diplomatic
    community, Dhaka, fearing a major influx, closed its borders to
    persons fleeing communal violence Myanmar in June.

    Those who
    did manage to make it across the border were rounded up and sent back
    to Myanmar. However, there are no reliable figures on the number of
    arrivals and the number refouled.

    Bangladesh is not a
    signatory to the 1951
    Refugee Convention
     or
    its 1967 Protocol.

    “UNHCR reiterates its readiness to
    provide protection and assistance to the governments and the people
    of Bangladesh and Myanmar in addressing this evolving humanitarian
    situation,” said Paguino.  

    Source Here: