Guterres describes Myanmar’s Rohingya refugee situation as tragic

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has described the Myanmar’s Rohingya people as among the most discriminated people in the world.

Concluding a visit to Bangladesh that currently houses close to one million Rohingya who have fled persecution in neighbouring Myanmar, the UN chief described their plight as one of the most tragic stories in relation to the systematic violation of human rights.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, who traveled with the Secretary General, also committed almost 500 million dollars in grants for Bangladesh to support the Rohingya.

They traveled to the region to show their solidarity with the persecuted Rohingya. They visited refugee camps hoping to mobilize some 950 million dollars for the Rohingya humanitarian aid plan that remains only 26% funded.

“It is impossible to visit these camps without breaking our hearts with the suffering of the Rohingya people, first of all, listening to the terrible stories of massive violence, of killings, of rape, of torture, of houses and villages burnt. It is probably one of the most tragic stories in relation to the systematic violation of human rights. It is unacceptable that these people who have suffered so much in Myanmar now have to live in the difficult circumstances that these camps inevitably represent,” says Guterres.

Guterres warned that without the required funds, UN agencies would not have the capacity to provide basic needs while raising concerns that malnutrition was on the rise with conditions of water and sanitation already far from ideal.

“I believe we need to combine a word of deep gratitude to the government and people of Bangladesh for the fact that they’ve opened their borders. So many of the borders are closing in the world. And they have received so generously these people and provided them with basic protection and support. But it’s also necessary to say to the international community that the solidarity expressed by the international community has not has not been translated in sufficient support to the Rohingya people of Myanmar in Bangladesh,” Guterres added.

Officials have warned that some 200-thousand Rohingya in camps would need to be relocated as the approaching Monsoon season is threatening their safety.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, “I was humbled, I was moved, and I was extremely touched by the courage of the women and the men that we met today. You know, in extremely difficult conditions, they kept repeating again and again that their first priority is justice, their first priority is dignity. And we stand completely in solidarity with them. I have spent my entire life in developimg countries providing health care and education to the poorest people. This is one of the worst situations I have ever seen. Today we are all Rohingya. And we have to stand in solidarity with them so that they can live a life of dignity.”

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled into Bangladesh with the UN and the United States accusing authorities in Myanmar of ethnic cleaning, a claim Naypyidaw has rejected.