This must not become a forgotten crisis, UNHCR says, calling for renewed and strong international support
The international joint response plan (JRP) to look after the persecuted Rohingyas sheltered in Cox’s Bazar for 2021 will be launched in Geneva on Tuesday.
In the JRP, to be launched virtually due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the United Nations agencies and NGO partners will appeal for $943 million to meet the basic needs of the Rohingyas and the host communities.
The 2021 JRP brings together the efforts of the government of Bangladesh, and 134 UN agencies and NGO partners to target almost 1.4 million people this year.
The $943 million plan seeks to meet the needs of more than 880,000 Rohingya refugees and 472,000 Bangladeshis in the surrounding host communities in Cox’s Bazar district. Most Rohingya refugees, some 740,000, fled violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in 2017.
In March, 2020, the United Nations appealed for little over $1 billion to meet the needs of the Rohingya refugees and host communities in Cox’s Bazar. At the end of 2020, this appeal saw just 59.4% funded, prompting the implementing agencies to appeal from time to time for the donors to be more generous.
“We stress that the international community must not only maintain support for refugees and their hosts, but also adapt to new and emerging needs and pursue the search for durable solutions,” UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic told a press conference in Geneva on Friday.
“The search for durable solutions must remain focused on the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees to their homes in Myanmar, when conditions allow them to do so. However, the ongoing crisis and political instability in Myanmar have added new layers of complexity to this challenge,” he said.
“With the refugee crisis in its fourth year, Bangladesh needs robust and sustained international support to ensure the safety and wellbeing of stateless Rohingya refugees. This must not become a forgotten crisis. Both Rohingya refugees and Bangladesh, having generously hosted them for decades, must see the world standing with them,” he added.
The spokesperson also said that adding to the complexity of this crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic had compounded vulnerabilities for refugees and host communities alike.
To date, the government of Bangladesh, with the support of the humanitarian community, has effectively managed the Covd-19 response and the spread of the disease in the Rohingya camps and surrounding areas, though the trajectory of the virus remains unpredictable, he said, adding that a coordinated and inclusive response had saved lives.