Rohinya community at a “dangerous tipping point,” say NGOs

They call for a more active role for ASEAN and greater international leadership

Of the 1 million Rohingya refugees, there are 450,000 teenagers and children at risk of becoming a “lost generation”

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Amnesty International have assured that the Rohingya community is facing a “dangerous tipping point” on the anniversary of the violent crackdown against this community in Burma.

“This solemn anniversary is a disturbing reminder that not a single senior Burmese military officer has been prosecuted for the heinous campaign of violence against the Rohingya,” said AI’s Deputy Regional Director for Campaigns, Ming Yu Hah, on the occasion of this date, which is commemorated on August 25.

Thus, she has stated that “the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) must also play a more forceful, decisive and leading role in standing up for the Rohingya people and pushing for accountability in Burma.”

On this point, the secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland, also agreed, noting that “China and ASEAN member states must organize a leadership summit” with the aim of “charting a way forward to resolve the crisis.”

Egeland has also said he was “dismayed” by the “vacuum” of “international leadership” outside Bangladesh. “Instead of unblocking the situation to find lasting solutions, leaders are competing in a race to the abyss,” he explained.

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“They must be helped out of forced displacement now or it will be too late (…) If this cruel limbo continues, the reality of them ever returning home to Burma will be extinguished,” he has explained, adding that the Rohingya refugees are “on the edge of a terrifying precipice.”

For its part, Save the Children has assured, in a survey conducted by the organization to nearly 300 minors in Cox Bazar, that three out of four Rohingya children are unhappy or are “always suffering,” while nearly 80 percent of them say they feel depressed “all the time” or sometimes.

“It is unacceptable that, five years after fleeing horrific violence in their own country, most Rohingya refugees still do not feel safe,” said Save the Children’s country director in Bangladesh, Onno van Manen.

For this reason, he warned that these children show “worrying signs of depression and anxiety”. Save the Children has focused on child marriages and schooling, warning that children with limited access to better living conditions are “losing” “hope”.

“The findings expose that the efforts of the international community, while significant, fall short of adequately responding to the needs of refugees,” the organization explained in a statement.

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In this sense, the organization has expressed concern about “the rising cost of living around the world” and that this fact may affect “the ability of the international community to continue to provide the necessary assistance to refugees.”

Due to the situation, according to the latest figures provided by the UN, about 14 million affected people are in need of humanitarian aid. Of the one million Rohingya refugees, there are about 450,000 adolescents and children who are at risk of becoming a “lost generation”.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, assured last week in a meeting with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Shaykh Hasina, that “the current situation on the other side of the border” is not “suitable for returns.”

“Repatriation should always be carried out on a voluntary and dignified basis, only when there are safe and sustainable conditions in Burma,” he said, adding that he was concerned about “the rise of anti-Rohingya rhetoric in the country.”

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