International community reaffirms support for Rohingya refugees ahead of Global Refugee Forum
BANGKOK – Over 150 delegates from governments hosting or supporting Rohingya refugees, refugee-led organisations, the private sector, development actors, think-tanks, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) convened in Bangkok yesterday for a high-level meeting on Rohingya refugees, reaffirming their collective solidarity with host countries and refugees.
The United Kingdom and the United States joined UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, led by the High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr Filippo Grandi, to convene the meeting to refocus efforts for a collective and sustained response to the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis, more than six years on since some 700,000 Rohingya refugees sought safety in Bangladesh.
Participants reaffirmed their continued support for Rohingya refugees in the region and for a comprehensive approach to the situation. This included through efforts to uphold the right of refugees to return safely, voluntarily to Myanmar; support to refugees and host countries – particularly Bangladesh – such as through additional humanitarian funding and resources; as well as resettlement places for the most vulnerable and complementary pathways, such as through education and labour mobility.
The meeting also served as a catalyst for greater focus and attention on the Rohingya issue, ahead of the Global Refugee Forum. The multi-stakeholder pledge planned for Rohingya refugees, calls for comprehensive and coordinated action for solutions and resilience and Participants expressed their desire to work collectively towards the pledge.
The Second Global Refugee Forum (Geneva, 13-15 December 2023) is a multilateral and multi-stakeholder event intended to build international solidarity to ease the pressure on refugee hosting communities, and to find solutions to longstanding displacement situations.
More than one million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are currently being hosted in Asia. Bangladesh is the largest host country with 960,000 Rohingya refugees. Another 102,000 refugees are residing in Malaysia, some 22,000 in India and several hundred in Indonesia and Thailand respectively.
In Bangladesh, funding shortfalls are already adversely affecting the wellbeing of refugees and impacting access to food, shelter materials, cooking fuels, sanitation facilities and livelihood activities. The Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis, amounting to US$876 million in 2023, remains only 42 per cent funded as of October.