09/26/2018, 15.33
MYANMAR – BANGLADESH
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UN assesses violence and development projects for Rohingya

Two UN agencies met people and held consultations to develop possible projects with the Myanmar government. UN teams worked freely and were not limited in any way. Bangladesh authorities plan to move Rohingya refugees from camps in Cox's Bazar to those under construction on Bhasan Char Island.

Naypyidaw (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHRC) have completed their first assessment in Rakhine State, western Myanmar.

‘’The agencies are analysing the data gathered,’’ said Aoife McDonnell, reporting officer of the UNHCR. The fact-finding process follows local inter-ethnic violence, especially at the expense of Rohingya Muslims.

Staff from the two agencies met with people and held consultations to try to understand their needs and identify possible projects with the government to improve the lives of those affected by the conflict in 23 settlements in 16 village tracts in northern Rakhine.

For the first time since the outbreak of violence, Myanmar authorities on 12 September allowed UN officials into the conflict-torn area.

The UN had been waiting for authorisation since June when it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Myanmar to help repatriate about 700,000 refugees who had fled to Bangladesh.

U Aung Thurein, a senior member of the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine (UEHRD), said the UN teams were allowed to work freely and were not restricted in any way. 

Through the UEHRD, an initiative undertaken by Myanmar State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi, the government in October 2017 pledged to implement the directives of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State chaired by Kofi Annan.

For their part, Bangladesh authorities plan to move Rohingya refugees from Cox's Bazar camps (pictured) to those under construction on Bhasan Char Island.

Located on the estuary of the Meghna River, where the latter meets the Bay of Bengal, the island is subject to flooding.

If Dhaka and the UN deem the camps on the island habitable, the process of transfer could start as early as next November, said Muhammad Habibul Kabir Chowdhury, head of Refugee Affairs at the Bangladesh Disaster Management and Relief Ministry, after he conducted an inspection in the area.

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