Swedish Ambassador to Bangladesh Alex Berg von Linde and Dutch Ambassador Harry Verweij have laid emphasis on maintaining the focus on the Rohingya crisis until they are repatriated to their place of origin in Rakhine State.
In addition, the Ambassadors reiterated the urgent need for a UN assessment on the safety, feasibility and sustainability of Bhasan Char as a place for refugees to live.
The envoys, who visited Cox’s Bazar on December 5-8, said Sweden and the Netherlands are deeply appreciative of this, as well as for the commendable work of all humanitarian actors.
In a joint press statement, they said it is key that the international community continue to do its part to support both the Rohingya refugees and the host communities in order to ensure their protection and well-being.
The Ambassadors said Bangladesh has generously hosted Rohingya refugees when they needed it most.
During the visit both Ambassadors met with local government officials and different humanitarian actors to exchange views on the current situation of the Rohingya refugees in the camps.
More than three years on, Rohingya refugees continue their strive for a safe, sustainable, voluntary and dignified return to Myanmar.
“We will continue to focus on accountability for the atrocities committed in Myanmar and to put pressure on Myanmar to allow the Rohingyas to return. It is unlikely that return will be achieved in the short-term, which is why it is important to exchange views on options to develop mid-term solutions,” said Ambassador Verweij.
The Ambassadors met with Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) Shah Rezwan Hayat.
In the meeting the Ambassadors discussed the challenges faced by the refugees and the host communities of Cox’s Bazar, including livelihoods, access to services and humanitarian access.
Meeting with the Deputy Commissioner Md. Kamal Hossain of Cox’s Bazar District, the Ambassadors expressed the support and engagement of Sweden and the Netherlands to the sustainable development of the Cox’s Bazar District.
During the visit, and through both countries support, the Ambassadors engaged with both host communities and refugees.
Social cohesion and livelihood opportunities for both are crucial to improving the security and protection situation in the district.
Refugees and host communities are not only “beneficiaries” who receive assistance and services, they are actively involved in making the humanitarian operation possible and contribute to the local economic development.
The Ambassadors expressed concern about the situation of women and children.
“Gender-based violence is absolutely unacceptable and survivors must be able to report incidents and receive support. Women, children and the most vulnerable refugees should be able to feel safe, especially in the already precarious circumstances of the camps. Being sensitive to mental health and psychosocial support must be part of a resilient and durable response,” said Ambassador Berg von Linde.
It is important that all actors involved in the response adhere to the humanitarian principles and the need for unhindered humanitarian access to the camps, they said.
The Netherlands and Sweden said they will continue to support the Rohingya refugees and the host communities through contributing to the humanitarian response and development plans for Cox’s Bazar district.
The Netherlands and Sweden remain committed partners of the Government of Bangladesh as well as the humanitarian and development community.
Source: United News of Bangladesh