ICRC for responsible leadership to resolve Rohingya crisis

ICRC for responsible leadership to resolve Rohingya crisis

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Dhaka, July 3 – Recognising the progress made so far, ICRC President Peter Maurer on Tuesday laid emphasis on “responsible leadership” to resolve the Rohingya crisis and help Rohingyas go back to their homeland with all their rights.“Today, there is recognition that there is a problem and this problem needs to be fixed,” he told reporters mentioning that he saw a positive recognition from Myanmar authorities during his meeting with them.
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Bangladesh Head of Delegation Ikhtiyar Aslanov was also present at the conference held at its office in Banani on Tuesday.
While responding to a UNB question, Maurer said they are ready to engage in the stabilisation of communities in Myanmar.
He, however, said though there are positive steps, they are certainly not at the point yet where they wanted to be with conditions conducive to the safe return of Rohingyas.
“The ICRC will continue to play its part in responding to this humanitarian crisis in both Myanmar and Bangladesh,” said Maurer who travelled to both sides of the border – to the northern parts of Rakhine State where people had fled violence in huge numbers to the camps of Cox’s Bazar.
He said conditions to return will require not only humanitarian and mitigating activities but also effective political steps towards ensuring freedom of movement; access to basic services; freedom to undertake economic activity and access to markets in Rakhine; and most importantly trust in security arrangements for returnees.
“In both countries, I visited I was moved by the stories about the impacts of ICRC’s work for individuals and communities over the decades, from detention visits to healthcare to humanitarian negotiations and diplomacy,” Maurer said.
He said there has been no shortage of initiatives to solve the problem and both governments are making efforts and I am convinced of their goodwill.
The ICRC President met Myanmar President Win Myint, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, and Senior General Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Services Min Aung Hlaing, as well as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
He also met Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali on Tuesday and is scheduled to meet Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan in the afternoon.
“I cannot claim that life for those in Rakhine State is significantly better. In this remote, rarely-visited area, we drove through the areas where villages once stood. Little remains now, and the vegetation is rapidly reclaiming the land. In other parts, former schools and health centres stand empty,” he said.
The ICRC President said they have also seen the excellent recommendations from the Kofi Annan Commission, which they support. “Humanitarian organisations too are doing their best to alleviate the suffering. But so far, despite all the talking and all the efforts, too little has changed for the people there.”
“For humanitarian reasons alone, something has to change. Our collective best efforts must break this intractable situation and address its root causes. The ICRC is keen to play its part,” he said.
In Myanmar, the ICRC is doubling the distribution of food rations, to help communities during the monsoon season as many areas become inaccessible.
“These are lifesaving measures but they are not long-term solutions. People need sustainable answers and they need hope for the future,” he said.
The ICRC President said humanitarian assistance alone will not solve this problem. “A better future for the people here will need inclusive political solutions, environmentally sustainable economic investment and a strong commitment to international humanitarian law and human rights.” – UNB

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