The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi expressed his deep concern over funds for the Rohingyas.

He fears it could be difficult to arrange adequate funds for Rohingyas due to the Ukraine and the Afghanistan crises. He said he was visiting Bangladesh to observe the actual situation so that such a outcome can be averted.

Filippo Grandi was speaking at a press conference organised at a city hotel on Wednesday afternoon by the Dhaka office of the UN refugee agency. He said, “We need international assistance. We collect funds through the Joint Response Plan (JRP) every year where the donating countries provide aid. Till now, only 75 per cent of the fund demand has been met through JRP.”

The UNHCR said, “Many issues including Ukraine and Afghanistan have come to the forefront now so I am quite concerned if this should decrease the funds for Rohingyas in future. I want tell the international community that Bangladesh has been shouldering the weight of the Rohingyas for the last five years. So, this assistance cannot be reduced.”

Filippo Grandi said the Rohingya issue should not move out of focus due to other crises. Agencies like the World Bank (WB) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) should come forward in aid of the Rohingyas.

When asked about their they were doing about the repatriation of the Rohingyas, Filippo Grandi said, “We are in contact with the current authorities (military government) of Myanmar. A few months ago, the military government of Myanmar renewed the treaty UNHCR had signed with the country’s former government. As a result, we would be able to start working on our development projects in Rakhine. However, we would require permission to work in Myanmar, including in Rakhine."

Referring to the desire of Rohingya people who took refuge in Bangladesh, to return back to their homes in Rakhine, the UNHCR said the current condition there is in no way conducive for their repatriation.

Stating that the solution to Rohingya crisis is in Myanmar, Filippo Grandi said more assistance is required to create conditions for suitable, safe and sustainable repatriation in northern Rakhain of Myanmar. The world has to work on the key reasons of Rogingyas being displaced. According to him, Covid-19 pandemic and military coup has made the Rohingya crisis more critical.