A top Red Cross official has said that the world was failing to address the humanitarian crisis affecting Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims.
Speaking to the Guardian on a visit to refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, Elhadj As Sy, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), also described the humanitarian crisis as unprecedented.
“A political solution was needed and called for all leaders “without exception” to take the situation seriously,” said Elhadj told the Guardian.
Myanmar has blocked most international agencies, including the UN, from parts of northern Rakhine state, where security forces are accused of raping and massacring Rohingya Muslims.
“We are facing here a crisis that is quite unprecedented not only in scale, but in the depths of the multiple deprivations that people are facing,” Guardian reports today quoting Sy.
The Red Cross has greater access than anybody else but the whole response cannot be shifted to the shoulders of Red Cross alone. There should be access for other humanitarian actors, he said. “As proud as we are of what we do as a movement, I don’t think we’re responding to the scale and magnitude of the problem.”
More than 603,000 Rohingya Muslims are estimated to have crossed into Bangladesh, where they are living in dire conditions under tarpaulins and in tents in muddy camps. More than half are children, Unicef said yesterday.
“Never have I seen so many children in a crisis,” Sy said. “Children who’ve seen things that a child should never witness. Children who are losing their childhood.”
He said he was shocked and saddened to see the state of the refugees arriving after days of walking to reach the border.
The Rohingya have endured decades of persecution in Myanmar, which refuses to acknowledge them as a distinct ethnic group, saying they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
Thousands of Rohingya continue to arrive in Bangladesh each day, but Sy said there was still hope for a political solution to the crisis.
“Ideally political solutions should have been found to the problem so that we minimise the factors that are really pushing people on the road of exodus because home is no longer safe,” he said.
Source: the Guardian