UN Human Rights Chief calls for coordinated regional approach to protect Myanmar refugees
Updated: December 31, 2022 10:41 am IS
Geneva [Switzerland]DECEMBER 31 (ANI): UN human rights chief Volker Turk has called for coordinated regional action to protect thousands of desperate Rohingya who are risking their lives by embarking on dangerous sea voyages.
“More than 2,400 Rohingya have attempted to leave Bangladesh and Myanmar in 2022 alone and I am deeply saddened that over 200 are reported to have lost their lives en route. Recent reports indicate that overcrowded and unsafe boats carrying Rohingyas have been left adrift for days, ending up with no help,” Turk said in a statement released by the United Nations High Commissioner’s Human Rights Office.
“As the crisis at sea continues, I urge countries in the region to establish a coordination mechanism to ensure proactive search and rescue, disembarkation of Rohingya refugees on their territory and their effective protection,” he added, noting noted that some states had already provided assistance.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights called on countries in the region and around the world to help Bangladesh assist the more than one million Rohingya refugees who have sought shelter there since 2017.
“Clearly, an urgent solution must be found to allow the voluntary return of all Rohingya, with full respect for their dignity and human rights as full and equal citizens of Myanmar,” he added.
According to the United Nations, there were an estimated 1,473,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Myanmar during the reporting period, including 1,143,000 people newly displaced since February 1, 2021.
In the northwest, the security situation in the Chin State, Sagaing and Magway regions remains unstable. Displacement due to active armed clashes, arson and air strikes continues.
According to the United Nations, access for humanitarian aid has been a challenge, particularly in the Sagaing region where the need is greatest. The conflict is expected to escalate over the winter, with civilians at risk. Clashes, indiscriminate shelling and landmine explosions were reported in Rakhine and Chin (south) states.
Food shortages and limited humanitarian assistance due to movement restrictions have hit communities particularly in Buthidaung, Maungdaw, Rathedaung, Mrauk-U, Minbya, Myebon, Kyauktaw and Pauktaw.
The situation in Rakhine state was generally calm, if tense, following the announcement of an informal ceasefire agreement between the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army (AA) in late November. (ANI)