MSF sees no solution in sight for Rohingyas | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 21, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:21 AM, August 21, 2019

MSF sees no solution in sight for Rohingyas

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) yesterday said very little progress  has been made to address the lack of legal status for the Rohingya in  the region, or to address the underlying causes of Rohingyas’  exclusion in Myanmar. 

A marginalised ethnic minority from Rakhine state, Rohingyas have in recent decades been subject to mounting targeted state  exclusion and persecution, it said, adding that two years ago, news of  Myanmar’s campaign of violence against Rohingyas dominated the  headlines.

MSF Emergency Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar Arunn Jegan said he first came to Cox’s Bazar in June 2017, at a time when thousands of Rohingyas were already in Bangladesh from previous waves of targeted violence.

Even then, he said, the needs were massive. “I returned as project  coordinator that August, as hundreds of thousands more people arrived.  It was obvious the Rohingyas were fleeing violence -- in a two-week  period between August and September 2017.”

At the border crossings, he said, they saw Rohingyas arriving with  burns, gunshots, lacerations, and smoke asphyxiation. “The trauma was  visible on people’s faces and bodies.”

To date, no meaningful solutions have been offered to the Rohingyas,  who have been pushed to the margins of society in virtually all the  countries they have fled to.

In Bangladesh, over 912,000 Rohingyas still live in the same basic  bamboo structures as when they first arrived, face travel and work  restrictions, and remain wholly reliant on humanitarian aid, MSF said.

With children unable to attend formal schooling, future generations are deprived of an opportunity to improve their situation.

Many of the illnesses MSF treats at its clinics in Cox’s Bazar are a  result of the poor living conditions that Rohingyas endure, with poor  access to clean latrines or water.

MSF continues to treat tens of thousands of patients a month,  performing over 1.3 million consultations between August 2017-June 2019.

“Two years on, there are now better roads, more latrines and clean  water points in and around the camps. There’s more sense of order. But  conditions in the camps remain precarious and big questions about  people’s futures are still unanswered,” says Jegan.

Jegan said, “When I think of the future for the Rohingyas, my biggest  hope is that they’re able to return home safely. Until then, I hope  they’re afforded greater self-sufficiency, education rights, as well as  the legal recognition they deserve. If these things don’t happen now, I  fear the Rohingyas will be in the same situation in another two years,  only with even fewer services available to them. Any decrease in aid  should only come in tandem with growing self-sufficiency.”

Rohingyas likewise remain in limbo in Malaysia, where they have been fleeing to over the past 30 years.

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