EU remains very concerned about Rohingya crisis, Parliament told

Written by Martin Banks on 24 January 2018 in News

Parliament has been told the EU remains “very concerned” about the plight of Rohingya refugees.

Speaking in the foreign affairs committee on Tuesday, David Daly, of the European External Action Service (EEAS), told MEPs about the “very important” financial and political support the EU had given to the issue.

He told MEPs, “This can very easily be seen in the support we have given to those communities, such as in Bangladesh, that are hosting and helping the refugees.”

Daly, head of division for the southeast Asia region at the EEAS, said he welcomed the recent agreement regarding repatriation of the refugees back to Myanmar but said he wanted to see the “full involvement” of the UNHCR in this process.



“I am urging Myanmar to cooperate fully with the UNHCR, for example, with fact finding missions, and also in addressing the root causes of this problem and full implementation of the Annan report.”

Daly later engaged in a discussion on the issue with committee members.

His appearance in Parliament this week comes as tensions have risen in camps holding hundreds of thousands of refugees, some of whom are opposing their transfer back to Myanmar because of what they say is a lack of guarantees of their security.

Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed earlier this month to complete the voluntary repatriation of the refugees within two years, starting on Tuesday. Myanmar says it has set up two reception centres and a temporary camp near the border to receive the first arrivals.

A Bangladesh Border Guard official said it could be months before the transfers begin.

The International Organisation for Migration says the number of Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh since late August now stands at 688,000. The exodus began when the Myanmar military launched a crackdown following insurgent raids on security forces on 25 August.

The head of the UNHCR said more time was needed to prepare the return of the Rohingya refugees to Rakhine, and urged the two governments to involve it in their efforts to resolve the refugee crisis.

The UNHCR, which is helping to administer the refugee camps, is not involved in the repatriation process.

The Rohingya have long been denied citizenship by Myanmar, where many in the Buddhist majority regard them as interlopers from Bangladesh.

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter for the Parliament Magazine

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