UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on Monday reiterated its position saying both the origin of and solution to the Rohingya crisis lie in Myanmar.
“The origin of this crisis and the solution to this crisis both lie in Myanmar…,” he told a press conference at a city hotel.
Referring to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s stance, Filippo Grandi said she clearly told him that the solution to this problem is the voluntary return of these people to their own country (Myanmar) and he also agreed with her.
“I’ll add (what we always attach to repatriation process) in safety and dignity or in a safe manner and dignified manner. I think, there’s no intention to force them or push them back in a manner which is not safe and dignified,” he said.
According to the UN’s latest figure, some 436,000 Rohingyas fled violence in Rakhine and took shelter in Bangladesh this time, he mentioned.
Grandi said the root cause of Rohingya crisis is lack of citizenship and stateless people who do not have citizenship.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees arrived in Bangladesh on Saturday and visited Kutubpalong Refugee camp and other areas along the border where Rohingya people have made their own shelters.
“Their situation remains desperate and we risk a dramatic deterioration if aid is not rapidly stepped up,” he said.
He thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Bangladesh for keeping its borders open to receive these refugees. “We need to recognise publicly the hospitality of Bangladesh. Bangladesh has hosted Rohingya refuges again… So, the first responders have been the people of Bangladesh. We want to thank them for this gesture.”
He urged the Myanmar government to stop violence in Rakhine. “The important request to the government of Myanmar that violence has to be stopped and access by humanitarian organisations like mine has to be restored.”
“I talked to the people who had experienced the most unimaginable horrors. They had seen villages burned down, families shot or hacked to death, women and girls brutalized,” he said.
Many of the refugees said they would like to go home, but that needs an end to violence, and a restoration of rights inside Myanmar, he added.
“The report issued in August by the Rakhine Advisory Commission, led by Kofi Annan, provides an important roadmap for addressing the root causes that have contributed to the current crisis,” said Grandi.
He said the influx of Rohingya refugees is currently the fastest growing refugee movement in the region and probably around the world. “Perhaps, the Rohingya crisis has a unique feature that this people are not just refugees but also stateless.”
Replying to a question over Bangladesh government’s proposal to create a ‘safe zone’ for Rohingyas in Rakhine, the UNHCR chief said it is a very complex exercise.
Noting that there are only two choices basically for creating a safe zone, he said either the government concerned has to decide to establish a safe zone and ensure safety or the international community will have to intervene in or force another country to create a safe zone.
“This is a very complex exercise…my point is different from the humanitarian point of view, we want safety in general in Rakhine state…They (Rohingyas) won’t go back without the guarantee of safety.”
He said the government has voluntarily started registering Rohingya refugees without support from the international community. “This is an important exercise. We encourage the government for it… We’re providing technical support to the registration.”
“What Bangladesh and local communities have done is amazing. But that’s not enough as Rohingya people need more support. The relief network has to get organised, massive and probably durable,” he added.
Replying to a question over relocation of Rohingya refugees to Thengarchar in Noakhali, he said the relocation option has to be acceptable to the refugees. “The option for medium term has to be something acceptable to people to go there. Otherwise, it won’t work and people won’t go.”