Friday, 05 June 2020

Ukhiya, Bangladesh: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees  (UNHCR) António Guterres visited the Burmese refugee camp Kutupalong accompanied by 10 other representatives yesterday, at about 10 a.m., according to a Majee (shed leader) of the camp.

The UNHCR chief along with UNHCR regional director for Asia, country representative of Thailand , Ms. Priya, the country representative of UNHCR in Dhaka , RRRC in Cox's Bazaar, Sub-officer of UNHCR in Cox's Bazaar, Cox's Bazaar district officer, Camp –in-Charge of Kutupalong and others were present.


 The chief arrived Dhaka on a two-day visit that will highlight the need to find a lasting solution to the issue of around 27,000 Rohingya refugees living in the country.


He went to the Kutupalong camp from Cox's Bazaar in a five car convoy including security forces and reached at about 10 a.m. after landing at Cox's Bazaar air port from Dhaka .


This is his first visit to Bangladesh as high commissioner and Guterres plans to discuss with the government the long-standing plight of the Rohingya refugees as part of the high commissioner's initiative to place a spotlight on the issue and to resolve some of the world's most protracted refugee situations, said a press release.


Guterres spent over four hours in Kutupalong Refugee camp, home to almost 10,800 refugees. The chief met refugees, visited medical and feeding centres and new housing units that are being built for the refugees. He also visited new arrivals surrounding the Kutupalong camp and asked concerned authorities to build houses for them. The chief also visited education centres and offices of NGOs in the camp.


After visiting the camp, he left the camp and reached Cox's Bazaar at about 2:15 p.m. In Cox's Bazaar, about 26 Rakhine community people including two monks, children, women led by Ko Khine Soe and Ma Wa Wa welcomed him. Ko Khine Soe and Ma Wa Wa were allowed to meet him for five minutes. They apprised him of their demands. He left for Dhaka around 4 p.m. by air.


Guterres also held a meeting with refugee women and youths and asked them about their situation. The refugees said that they do not want to go to Burma until and unless the situation is normal in the country, and that they wished to settle in a third country.


He also discussed with concerned authorities of refugee camps and NGOs without the participation of refugees.


António Guterres is a former Portuguese Prime Minister and has been heading UNHCR since June 15, 2005. The UN General Assembly had elected him for a five-year term and he is the UN refugee agency's 10th high commissioner.


UNHCR has twice won the Nobel Peace Prize and it works in over 110 countries providing protection and assistance to nearly 33 million refugees and others of concern. The agency's total budget for 2008 is more than $1.6 billion, according to sources.


During the last two years, the government allowed the UN refugee agency, other UN agencies and non-governmental organizations to make many improvements there, the release said.