International assistance urgently needed for Rohingya refugees, says Amnesty

June 24, 2018 - 15:50

Amnesty International, the global rights watchdog body, has called on the international community to urgently step up assistance for more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district in the wake of severe monsoon season.

The statement was issued on June 20, which marks the World Refugee Day.
According to the United Nations, more than 200,000 Rohingya refugees are at the risk of landslides and floods during the ongoing monsoon season. More than 28,000 people have been affected over the past five weeks as 133 landslides have damaged more than 3,000 shelters.
“The Rohingya refugees languishing in the overcrowded and threadbare camps in Cox’s Bazar are in urgent need of international assistance,” said Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director. “A mere fifth of the UN’s appeal has been committed so far. The world cannot stand by while Bangladesh is left to shoulder the responsibility alone.”
The statement further said that the assistance is needed to provide for the Rohingyas most basic needs in the camps, including access to adequate housing. Almost all of the shelters are currently composed of makeshift bamboo and tarpaulin, many of them perched dangerously on mud hills. The camps are also extremely congested.
The UN refugee agency has warned that “given the scope of the refugee population, the sheer size of the settlements and the challenging terrain, we fear that the extreme weather will cause further damage, destruction and potential loss of life.”
“The international community has a duty to support these victims of the most horrific human rights violations accordingly, and not wait until further disasters visit them before taking action, said Patnaik.
Rohingya refugees fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar to escape persecution in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state, paving ground for the worst humanitarian crisis. There are more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees currently in Cox's Bazar – of whom 646,000 have arrived since August last year.
Many countries have come forward to help these impoverished refugees living in Cox’s Bazar camps. Iran’s Red Crescent Society (IRCS) also dispatched medical teams to provide medical supplies and administer treatment to these refugees, including children. Iran has airlifted many consignments of aid to Bangladesh for Rohingya refugees and has even offered to construct camps and emergency hospitals.
Roohullah Rezvi, an Iranian activist, who visited Cox’s Bazar refugee camps to deliver aid and medical supplies, termed it a humanitarian catastrophe. “But, for them, going back to Rakhine is also fraught with danger,” he hastened to add.
UNHCR, the world body’s refugee agency, has said that the repatriation of Rohingya refugees must take place in “safe and dignified conditions that pave the way for lasting solutions”.

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