World Refugee Day Today: Rohingyas in need of int'l protection: UN
The Rohingyas, the third largest refugee group in the world last year, are now in critical need of international protection as their condition is worse than the others, the UN Refugee Agency has said.
Of the 2.7 million people, who fled violence in their home countries in 2017, more than 10,00,000 were from South Sudan, 745,000 from Syria and 6,55,000 from Myanmar, said the UNHCR in its Global Trend report released yesterday, on the eve of the World Refugee Day.
People who fled South Sudan and Syria in the wake of civil wars and took shelter in other countries are not stateless and are free to return to their homelands once the conflicts are over, but the situation of the Rohingyas is different.
The Rohingyas, who either fled violence in Myanmar's Rakhine State or were driven out of the country, are stateless because of the restrictive provisions and applications of a citizenship law, which primarily confers citizenship on the basis of race, the report noted.
"As a direct result of their statelessness, the Rohingyas in Myanmar suffer entrenched discrimination, marginalisation, and denial of a wide range of basic human rights," said the report titled “Forced Displacement in 2017”.
Last year, the UNHCR was only able to account for 3.9 million out of an estimated 10 million stateless people in the world, but the case of the Rohingyas is unique.
“Nowhere is the link between statelessness and displacement more evident than for the Rohingya community of Myanmar, for whom denial of citizenship is a key aspect of the entrenched discrimination and exclusion that have shaped their plight for decades,” UNHCR head Filippo Grandi said in a statement.
By the end of last year, 6,55,500 Rohingyas had fled to Bangladesh amid a brutal military crackdown since August last year, increasing the number of stateless Rohingyas here to more than 932,200.
At the end of 2017, some 470,000 stateless Rohingyas remained in the northern part of Rakhine State. In addition, 125,600 internally displaced Rohingyas, largely confined to camps in central Rakhine since 2012, are also stateless and in need of protection.
Myanmar wants to take them back under an agreement with Bangladesh, but the Rohingyas want guarantee of citizenship, deployment of UN peacekeepers and return to their homes that were burnt during the violence.
Due to global geopolitics -- with the UN Security Council divided over any resolution against Myanmar -- the fate of the Rohingyas hangs in balance. Bangladesh, a highly populated country with scarce resources, is facing difficulties in tackling the crisis that has acerbated in the monsoon season now.
“Because they are both stateless and refugees, the Rohingya in Bangladesh are in critical need of international protection,” said the UNHCR report.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and UNHCR head Grandi are expected to visit Bangladesh at the end of this month.
In 2017, 16.2m people were forcibly displaced as a result of persecution, conflict or generalised violence. This means 44,400 people every day and it is the highest number recorded by the UNHCR.
It brings the total worldwide population of forcibly displaced people to a new high of 68.5m, including 40m internally displaced people, 25.4m refugees and 3.1m asylum seekers.
Refugees overwhelmingly originate from less developed nations. The conflict in Syria and displacements in Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, Iraq, Myanmar, South Sudan, Sudan, Ukraine and Yemen have raised their number to the levels observed today.
By the end of 2017, a total of 6.3m people from Syria were classed as refugees, while Afghanistan is the source of 2.6m and South Sudan accounts for 2.4m refugees.
Some 85 percent of the world's refugees are hosted in countries of developing and least developed regions. The ten countries hosting the majority of the refugees include Turkey, Pakistan, Uganda, Lebanon, Iran, Bangladesh, Germany, Sudan, Ethiopia and Jordan.
“We are at a watershed, where success in managing forced displacement globally requires a new and far more comprehensive approach so that countries and communities aren't left dealing with this alone,” said Grandi.
“But there is reason for some hope. Fourteen countries are already pioneering a new blueprint for responding to refugee situations and in a matter of months a new Global Compact on Refugees will be ready for adoption by the United Nations General Assembly.
“Today, on the eve of World Refugee Day, my message to member states is please support this. No one becomes a refugee by choice; but the rest of us can have a choice about how we help.”