According to the UN, around 400 000 people, most of them Rohingya Muslims, have fled across the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh. At the same time, there are huge humanitarian needs among the civilians who are still in Rakhine state, where the violence has escalated and the humanitarian situation has deteriorated significantly in recent weeks.
The UN and humanitarian organisations have had to withdraw personnel from the area due to the security situation and government restrictions. It is therefore difficult to obtain accurate information about the situation in Rakhine.
‘We are very concerned about the fact that humanitarian organisations are unable to reach the worst affected parts of Rakhine, and we appeal to the authorities in Myanmar to allow humanitarian access. The Rohingya in Myanmar need protection; their fundamental human rights must be respected, and a lasting solution to the citizenship issues must be found. We support the Secretary-General’s statement in which he makes it clear that these people have the right to return to their homes,’ said Mr Brende.
It is vital that the international community supports the efforts of Bangladesh to receive these refugees. According to UN estimates, Bangladesh has now taken in between 600 000 and 700 000 refugees from Rakhine. Many of them are currently in a small area close to the border, where the capacity to receive more refugees is at breaking point. The UN has reported a major and acute need for food, clean drinking water, medical assistance, shelter and sanitation facilities.
The funding from Norway will be used to support humanitarian assistance in both Bangladesh and Rakhine, and will be channelled through humanitarian organisations that are able to reach those who need assistance. Norway is also providing around NOK 15 million through the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). The funding provided by Norway to alleviate the crisis in Rakhine and Bangladesh will now total NOK 45million. In addition, Norway supports the UN’s efforts by financing the deployment of experts through the Norwegian emergency standby roster NORCAP.