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Rohingya repatriation top priority in JRP 2023, US$ 876m sought

Migration 2023-03-08, 1:44pm


State Minister for foreign affairs launched thed Joint Response Plan (JRP) 2023 for Rohingyas in Geneva on March 7.

Dhaka, Mar 8 - State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam hascalled for robust international efforts to expedite repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh to their homeland Myanmar.

With its limited resources and inadequate external support Bangladesh has to continue the humanitarian operation until the repatriation process for over one million Rohingyas is complete.

In this context, the State Minister urged the international community to contribute generously to the humanitarian aid fund for them.

He made the appeal while addressing the launching of Joint Response Plan (JRP) 2023 for Rohingyas in Geneva on March 7.

The State Minister also requested all humanitarian partners to prioritize sectors covering the basic necessities like food, health, site management and shelter, etc. in their assistance.

Recalling that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had opened the borders of Bangladesh to save the lives of Rohingyas back in 2016 and 2017 despite its serious ramification on the economy, environment, security, and socio-political stability of Bangladesh, State Minister Alam briefed the audience of Bangladesh’s numerous efforts, including development of Bhasan Char with its own resources to improve the living standards of the Rohingyas, ensure their education, and skills development opportunities.

Mentioning that Bangladesh is the largest donor, spending around 1.69 billion USD last year for the massive humanitarian operations for Rohingyas, ensuring safety and security in and around camps, restoration of the environment, and mitigation of sufferings of the Rohingyas and the host community, State Minister Alam warned that the impasse over commencing return of the Rohingyas to their home country might affect the security and stability of the entire region and jeopardize development initiatives.

Repatriation has been mentioned as the top priority in JRP 2023.

Under JRP 2023 an amount of USD 876 million has been sought and a chapter on Bhasan Char has been added.

The State Minister recalled that 62.7% of the pledged amount under JRP 2022 was funded and it was quite challenging to meet the needs of the growing Rohingya population and mitigate the sufferings of the host community in Bangladesh with the received donation.

He also said that the Ukraine War and other multiple crises have worsened the funding crisis for Rohingyas.

The State Minister expressed concern over the disinformation or biased projection of the government’s efforts to arrange education, skill development initiatives and even improve the security situation for the Rohingyas in Bangladesh.

He also remarked that uncertainty to commence repatriation is often being used as a domestic political tool by opposition parties in Bangladesh, projecting it as a failure of the present government.

The State Minister urged all to check the ground reality prevailing in Bangladesh and talk to the government before relying on those “concocted stories”.

Co-sponsored by the UNHCR and IOM, the JRP for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis was attended by ambassadors/permanent representatives of member states of the UN, representatives of NGO, INGOs, media, academician, and officials of UN bodies.

Appreciating Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s generosity in allowing Rohingyas to take shelter in Bangladesh and various efforts of Bangladesh including education for forcibly displaced Rohingyas, UN High Commissioner for Refugees and Director General of the International Organization for Migration also called upon the international community to provide increased humanitarian assistance for the Rohingyas in their dire need.

They also acknowledged that repatriation is key to resolving the Rohingya crisis and Myanmar has to demonstrate political will to that end.

The EU, US, Norway, Switzerland, Australia and some other donor countries announced their respective contributions for the Rohingyas for 2023 in the JRP event.

The State Minister also met with High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk at the UN Office in Geneva and briefed him of the efforts made by the government under the dynamic leadership of Sheikh Hasina to promote and protect human rights of all. He reiterated the government’s commitment to consistent engagement with the UN human rights mechanisms.

The State Minister briefed the High Commissioner about Rohingya camp situations in Cox’s Bazar and the newly built Bhasan Char shelter.

He emphasized burden sharing by the international community and its stronger commitment to their right to return and to ensuring justice and accountability for them.

High Commissioner Volker Turk applauded Bangladesh’s outstanding advancements in socio-economic arena, and its engagement with UN mechanisms. He praised Bangladesh’s humanitarian leadership in sheltering Rohingyas and efforts to advance world peace.