UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has urged the international community to scale up their support for the Rohingyas because of the consequences due to the current economic crisis and the impact of the war in Ukraine with increased food cost.
“I would insist that the international community don't abandon the Rohingyas and continue supporting and even looking at if they can even scale up their support because of the consequences,” she said after visiting the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar.
“And that means that the same amount of money that before could buy more now can buy less. And that is producing problems for the people here in Cox's Bazar,” said the UN rights chief.
The High Commissioner who is set to conclude her visit later today (Wednesday) said: “I must say, all of them (Rohingyas) have said: we want to go back, but we want to go back when we can have an identity as citizens of Myanmar. When our rights are respected, we can have our livelihoods again and we can have land and we can feel that we are part of the country.”
She reiterated the importance of continuing to ensure that safe and sustainable conditions exist for any returns and these are conducted in a voluntary and dignified way.
“The UN is doing the best we can to support them. We'll continue doing that. But we also need to deal with the profound roots of the problem. We need to deal with that and ensure that they can go back to Myanmar – when there are conditions for safety and voluntary return,” Bachelet said.
The Rohingyas who fled Myanmar five years ago shared their concerns and hopes with the High Commissioner.
“We are here in Cox’s Bazar, where so many Rohingya people from Myanmar, after the terrible repression and violation of human rights, had to flee here to get some safety. An estimated 1.1 million Rohingyas are in Bangladesh right now, meaning Cox's Bazar, some of them in Bhashan char,” Bachelet said.
In a safe place for women inside the camp, she talked with them about conditions there. They also discussed their hopes.
“They described their grievances, their pains, how they left and lost everything they have – their livelihoods, many of them also their loving persons, and how they have received shelter here in Bangladesh in this Cox's Bazar camp that the United Nations with other partners, NGOs, has been supporting with services,” she said.
The young volunteers aged 15 to 18, spoke of their wish to be able to get an education.
Bachelet has been on an official visit to Bangladesh since Sunday at the invitation of the government of Bangladesh. This is the first official visit by a UN Human Rights chief to Bangladesh.
During her visit to Dhaka, the High Commissioner met several ministers. On Monday, she met with Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen at the state guesthouse Padma.
She also met with representatives of civil society organisations and other stakeholders.