Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank the European Union, Kuwait, OCHA, UNHCR and IOM for hosting this important conference.
Norway remains very concerned about the escalating violence and the exacerbated humanitarian situation for the Rohingyas in Rakhine. According to UN reports, the Rohingyas in Rakhine have been subject to extensive discrimination, violence, sexual abuse and displacement, for many years, culminating in the crisis we see today. Political solutions are needed, and the main responsibility to achieve them lies with the government of Myanmar.
The situation in Rakhine
It is of critical importance that humanitarian actors get access to the affected parts of Rakhine. The authorities in Myanmar have an obligation to ensure safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to all people in need, in line with international humanitarian law.
UN and international organizations must be given access to Rakhine.
The Rohingyas and other displaced people from Rakhine need protection, and have the right to return to their homes in safety. We are acutely aware of the vulnerable situation of women and children in particular, and of their protection needs.
The dialogue between Bangladesh and Myanmar should result in voluntary, safe and dignified return. Recent signals from authorities in Myanmar have given us some hope in this regard.
The situation in Bangladesh
We greatly appreciate that Bangladesh allows the refugees to cross the border, and we highly commend the vital work that the Government and people of Bangladesh are doing to provide the refugees with life-saving humanitarian assistance.
It is essential that the UN and their partners on the ground are able to deliver a well-coordinated and effective response. We are pleased that the UNHCR has now taken on a larger role, in accordance with its mandate.
So far this year, Norway has provided approximately 7 million USD (55 million NOK) in response to the humanitarian needs of the Rohingyas, both in Bangladesh and in Myanmar. This includes support through the Central Emergency Respond Fund, CERF.
Today, I am pleased to announce an additional contribution of around 3 million USD (25 million NOK) in humanitarian assistance towards the refugee situation in Bangladesh and the vulnerable populations in Rakhine. The funds will be channelled through the UN and international humanitarian organisations working on the ground.
This takes Norway’s total contribution to around 10 million USD (80 million NOK). We will consider further contributions.
The Norwegian contribution comes in addition to the substantial and non-earmarked contributions we provide to UN-organizations, like WFP and Unicef, that are instrumental in the response process for the Rohingyas.