Netherlands, Sweden call for urgent UN assessment on safety of Rohingyas at Bhasan Char | The Daily Star
08:21 PM, December 08, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 08:25 PM, December 08, 2020

Netherlands, Sweden call for urgent UN assessment on safety of Rohingyas at Bhasan Char

The Netherlands and Sweden have called for urgent need for a UN assessment on the safety, feasibility and sustainability of Bhasan Char as a place for refugees to live.

The call came after a visit by the two European ambassadors to Cox's Bazar where about a million Rohingyas are living in congested refugee camps.

At least 1642 Rohingyas were transferred to Bhashan Char on December 5 amid criticism from the UN and rights bodies who say the island in Hatiya of Noakhali is low-lying and isolated. UN said it was waiting for assessment by a technical team of the UN.

The ambassadors said they will continue to focus on accountability for the atrocities committed in Myanmar and put pressure on it to allow the Rohingyas to return.

"Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to maintain the focus on the Rohingya crisis," they said in a joint statement today, calling on the international community to continue to do its part to support both the Rohingya refugees and the host communities for their protection and well-being.

The Netherlands, along with Canada, is intervening in the genocide case of The Gambia that took Myanmar to the International Court of Justice three years after Myanmar forced some 750,000 Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh in a brutal military campaign.

During their visit to Cox's Bazar, Swedish Ambassador Alex Berg von Linde and Dutch Ambassador Harry Verweij met with local government officials and humanitarian actors.

The ambassadors engaged with both host communities and refugees and stressed on social cohesion and livelihood opportunities for improving the security and protection situation in the district.

"It is unlikely that return will be achieved in the short-term, which is why it is important to exchange views on options to develop mid-term solutions,", said Ambassador Verweij.

"Gender-based violence is absolutely unacceptable and survivors must be able to report incidents and receive support," said Ambassador Berg von Linde.

She said women, children and the most vulnerable refugees should be able to feel safe, especially in the already precarious circumstances of the camps. Being sensitive to mental health and psychosocial support must be part of a resilient and durable response.

The ambassadors expressed support and engagement of Sweden and the Netherlands to the sustainable development of Cox's Bazar district and humanitarian support to the Rohingyas and host community.

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