25 November 2017
MUSLIM AID AGENCY ON THE GROUND IN MYANMAR EXPRESSES ALARM OVER PLANNED REPATRIATION OF ROHINGYA REFUGEES
PROGRESS WELCOME IF SECURITY IS GUARANTEED
British-based global aid agency Muslim Aid is concerned to hear yesterday's announcement that Rohingya people who fled Myanmar for Bangladesh could be sent back to Myanmar in two months' time.
"We welcome any attempts for progress in what is a humanitarian crisis of unimaginable proportions, but we are extremely concerned about the safety and security of these vulnerable people," says Muslim Aid Chief Executive Officer Jehangir Malik OBE.
Muslim Aid has been working with these communities since a wave of violence in 2012 caused thousands to lose their homes, we are currently working in Sittwe, Rakhine Province, operating out of three offices in Myanmar with 30 staff. We work closely with Muslim and non-Muslim local communities to help the most needy.
More than 620,00 Rohingyas have fled Myanmar since August 25 2017, when violence broke out between the military and ethnic minority groups. Large numbers of refugees sought refuge in Bangladesh, escaping violence across the border. The enormous influx of refugees has not stopped, over 800,000 have arrived since August 25 2017 and there are frequent new arrivals. The camps are dangerously unprepared to receive them. Many have travelled for days to reach shelter, on foot, often without food, many are elderly and disabled, babies have died on the way. These refugees have been living in dire conditions in overcrowded camps since arriving, with limited access to basic needs such as food, water and medical treatment.
Mr Malik adds: “We are keen to work with all responsible authorities to improve conditions for what is one of the largest movements of refugees. Thousands who fled violence in Myanmar lack access to basic humanitarian aid and are at risk of returning to dangerous conditions without knowing if they will be safe. Any repatriation efforts by the government must guarantee the safety and protection of human life and take place in a coordinated, safe and dignified manner in accordance with international standards.”
Muslim Aid has been working on the ground in the affected areas in Rakhine state since August 2017, we have reached nearly 30,000, over five and a half thousand households. Muslim Aid has been working with these displaced people since 2012, providing livelihoods, health facilities, education, shelter, food and water (see Notes to Editors). When the recent emergency hit, we were there with food packs tailored to the local context and needs, sanitation packs and water for the affected population.
To interview Jehangir Malik OBE who was recently in Rakhine State delivering Aid in Sittwe, about this issue or for more information about Muslim Aid's work in Myanmar please contact Beverley Cohen at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07921 655272.
Notes to Editors
Muslim Aid's work in Sittwe, Rakhine State, Myanmar includes:
Muslim Aid is a relief and development agency set up in the United Kingdom in 1985 to provide humanitarian assistance to disaster affected countries and to help poor and vulnerable communities overcome poverty. Muslim Aid delivers relief and implements programmes in over 50 countries worldwide, working with all communities irrespective of faith, ethnic origin or political system.