The Organization for Migration (IOM) and UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), under the leadership of the government of Bangladesh aunched a $943 million plan on Tuesday to “safeguard the well-being and dignity” of Rohingya refugees in the country and their host communities.
The 2021 Joint Response Plan joins Bangladesh with 134 UN agencies and NGO partners to “meet the needs of more than 880,000 Rohingya refugees and 472,000 Bangladeshis in the surrounding host communities in Cox’s Bazar District”, said UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic.
A statement by UNHCR said: With the refugee crisis in its fourth year, Bangladesh needs robust and sustained international support to ensure the safety and wellbeing of stateless Rohingya refugees. This must not become a forgotten crisis. Both Rohingya refugees and Bangladesh, having generously hosted them for decades, must see the world standing with them.
Adding to the complexity of this crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded vulnerabilities for refugees and host communities alike. To date, the Government of Bangladesh, with the support of the humanitarian community, has effectively managed the COVID-19 response and the spread of the disease in the Rohingya camps and surrounding areas, though the trajectory of the virus remains unpredictable. A coordinated and inclusive response has saved lives. However, it is critical to ensure the continued delivery of all humanitarian assistance and protection services.
The needs of Rohingya refugees reach beyond subsistence and physical safety. Refugees, like any other people, cannot be allowed to wait for years without access to education and options for a decent life and a meaningful future. In order to mitigate the risks of people taking dangerous onward journeys, more must be done to ensure that refugees have hope in Bangladesh, and of a future back home in Myanmar. Otherwise, they may increasingly risk such journeys by land or sea to find a solution elsewhere.