European Union External Action

Rohingya refugees: Mogherini in Bangladesh and Myanmar to support solution to crisis

20/11/2017 - 10:13
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The EU will continue to lead the work of the donor community for the Rohingya refugees because we believe that human dignity and peoples’ lives have to be protected, said Mogherini.

European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini on 19 November visited Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox's Bazar and reiterated the EU's support for the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, as well as the Bangladeshi authorities providing assistance to those who have fled Northern Rakhine State. The EU and its member states have pledged €51 million in aid to the refugees and host communities, more than half the total raised at the UN Conference in Geneva on 23 October, which the EU co-chaired.

High Representative Mogherini yesterday visited one of the largest refugee camps in Bangladesh, where she met with representatives of humanitarian organisations and with a group of Rohingya women who recently fled Myanmar. According to the UN High Representative for Refugees, more than 600,000 Rohingya have fled from the northern Rakhine state into Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh since 25 August, making this ongoing exodus is the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world. The EU High Representative expressed the EU's strong support for the refugees and the host communities in Bangladesh:

"We are aware of the difficult situation that the local communities and Bangladesh are facing," said Mogherini. "They are hosting such a big number of traumatised people that have been travelling here, carrying with them terrible stories, especially women and children – extremely young children. I believe that the Bangladeshi people and government are showing an enormous amount of respect and I would say that they carry the honour of humanity in hosting the refugees in this manner."

bangladesh, refugee camp

"We will continue to support them. We will continue to look at ways to mobilise the international community’s support, and we will continue to lead the work of the donor community because we believe that human dignity and peoples’ lives – especially of children and women – has to be protected, always," said the High Representative.

To this end, aside from providing aid, the EU is supporting the negotiations between the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar, to "help find a sustainable solution, a humane solution and a dignified solution" to the crisis.

The basis of such a solution could be found in the Kofi Annan plan [the Report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, chaired by Kofi Annan], said Mogherini. Following a meeting in Dhaka with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Mrs Sheikh Hasina, and an informal meeting with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi On 20 November, Mogherini said she believed there was "a real and concrete" chance of Myanmar and Bangladesh reaching an agreement on a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding for the repatriation of refugees, which would constitute a first important step on the implementation of the Annan report recommendations.

"We encourage both, Bangladesh and Myanmar to work bilaterally on this issue with the support of the European Union and the rest of the international community. We believe that stopping the violence, stopping the flow of refugees, and guaranteeing full humanitarian access to Rakhine State and a safe, sustainable repatriation of the refugees is going to be key, and I am encouraged by our first, initial, informal discussion this morning," said the High Representative.

"The European Union is firmly behind the democratic transition of Myanmar; we understand how delicate the process is and that it is still ongoing, and one of our main priorities is to support the consolidation of this democratic transition. At the same time, we think that work has to be done to implement the Kofi Annan report recommendations and I am encouraged by the willingness of Aung San Suu Kyi to go in this direction and the European Union will support in all possible manners, both Myanmar and Bangladesh and the region to find a sustainable solution to this crisis."