Almost a million Rohingya refugees will be helped by humanitarian relief, but little progress has been made for their safe return to Myanmar.
On Thursday, October 22, foreign donors committed almost $600 million in humanitarian aid to thousands of predominantly Muslim Rohingya, resulting in bridging a significant funding gap for the Myanmar people who left their homes in 2017 amid a violent military takeover which is now being investigated for genocide.
The United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), arranged an online meeting to achieve the $1B funding target for 2020. However, only about half of which was reached.
"The international community has demonstrated its strong commitment to the humanitarian response with its announcement of funding today totaling $597 million," stated UNHCR Filippo Grandi.
In August and September 2017, about 730,000 Rohingya flowed over the border into neighboring Bangladesh during a military operation, which the United Nations said had been taken out with violent intent.
Myanmar refuses the accusations, stating that after attacks towards about a dozen military posts, including police stations, the government pursued legal security operations targeting rebel forces.
This year, hundreds have reportedly died after embarking on dangerous boat trips to Indonesia and Malaysia in hopes of a new life.
In Myanmar's Rakhine region, many who are commonly viewed as illegal immigrants have been refused citizenship, freedom of movement, and access to medical services. The majority of them have been restricted to towns and camps, which in this month, the Human Rights Watch identified as an open prison.
"We need ... not to lose ground on the gains that we have achieved and to make further progress both for refugees and the host communities," UNHCR's Grandi stated in a comment.
Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh's State Minister for Foreign Affairs, has said that the nation was exhausted from housing far too many refugees, adding that the condition was "untenable."
"Bangladesh is not in a position to continue to take the burden anymore," he stated, including that the Rohingya should go back in the soonest time possible.
Efforts to support the Rohingya return to the country have not succeeded in making development.
Last Saturday, the state said that most areas of the region would be unable to engage in the national election in November as it was too risky. This year, the dispute in the western state of Rakhine has escalated with the Myanmar military now battling against the Arakan military, an armed ethnic Rakhine organization.
The UNHCR stated contributors needed, together with the Rohingya community, to ensure the voluntary and secure humanitarian assistance to their communities.
"The Government of Myanmar must take steps to address the root causes of the violence and displacement in Rakhine State and create the conditions for voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable returns," according to the refugee agency.
The 2017 conflict is the focus of an investigation on genocide by the International Court of Justice, which forced Myanmar to adopt emergency measures in January to defend the Rohingya, claiming that their rights had been "irreparably damaged."
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