It requests all humanitarian actors to facilitate safe and voluntary return of Rohingyas to Myanmar

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen has rejected any idea of Rohingya integration into Bangladesh and requested all humanitarian actors including UNHCR and IOM to facilitate the safe and voluntary return of Rohingyas to their homeland, Myanmar.

He reiterated Bangladesh's commitment in finding a durable solution to the protracted Rohingya crisis.

Masud made the statement at the launching ceremony of 2024 Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingyas, held in Geneva on March 13.

The Foreign Secretary emphasized that without materialisation of the principle of equitable burden and responsibility sharing by the broader international community, host country Bangladesh, UNHCR, IOM and WFP would not be able to provide humanitarian assistance and protect the Rohingyas.

He urged the international community to increase their existing contributions and commit new pledges to reduce the ever-increasing funding gap for the Rohingyas.

The Foreign Secretary mentioned that despite having serious ramifications on the economy, environment, security, and socio-political stability, Bangladesh has been hosting more than 1.1 million Rohingyas for the last six years.

He cautioned that the threat stemming from risk of radicalisation and violent extremism among the Rohingyas may undermine regional stability.

The Foreign Secretary said that alternative pathways could be the supplementary efforts to ease the burden of Bangladesh. He informed the international community that each year 30,000 newborns are being added to the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

This year JRP has pledged an amount of USD 852 million for 1.35 Rohingyas and host communities through 195 projects.

Repatriation of Rohingyas has been determined as the first strategic objective of the JRP 2024.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, mentioned that safe, voluntary and dignified return of the Rohingyas to Myanmar will be the sustainable solution of this crisis and urged the international community to act in pursuit of it in his speech.

Besides, he appreciated the approach of the Government of Bangladesh to take grant and loan from the World Bank's IDA Credit for the well-being of the Rohingyas and affected host community.

The High Commissioner stressed that this initiative would supplement the JRP and could not be treated as a substitute of the humanitarian response.

Director General (IOM) Amy Pope, expressed deep concern about the continuous funding gap for the Rohingya Humanitarian Response Plan.

She further said that Rohingya people have potential and appealed to the international community to help foster the capability of the Rohingya community with the ultimate goal of reintegrating them into the Myanmar society.

Principal Secretary Mohammad Tofazzel Hossain Miah made closing remarks at the JRP launching ceremony.

He briefed the audience about the adverse impacts on the ecology and biodiversity of Cox's Bazar due to prolonged stay of Rohingyas, in particular degradation of six thousand eight hundred acres of reserve forest.

Effective climate action should be prioritised by the international community, he stressed.

Taking loans for Rohingya could not be a viable option for Bangladesh, further mentioning that he referred to the Government of Bangladesh's initiative to utilize the World Bank's IDA Window for the forcibly displaced Rohingyas and the host communities.

The Principal Secretary called upon the international partners to contribute to the cause of Rohingyas. He reflected that mitigation of the sufferings of the host community should be considered in the true spirit of burden sharing.

Co-sponsored by the UNHCR and IOM, the JRP for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis was attended by Ambassadors/Permanent Representatives of member states of the UN, representatives of NGO, INGOs, media, academician, and officials of UN bodies. Ambassadors of Australia, EU, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Netherlands, Switzerland, Türkiye, and the United Kingdom were present during the launching event.

Appreciating the government of Bangladesh's generosity in allowing over one million Rohingyas to take shelter in Bangladesh, many of them announced their voluntary contribution for this JRP.

Some made commitments to ensure quality education, better healthcare and basic needs for the forcibly displaced Rohingyas.

They also acknowledged that repatriation will be the key factor to resolve the Rohingya crisis and Myanmar must demonstrate profound political will to that end.

The importance of the engagement of ASEAN and other regional stakeholders was underscored by many participants of the JRP.

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