A top UN official on Thursday urged greater financial support as monsoon season approaches some one million Rohingya Muslims taking shelter in refugee camps in Bangladesh.
“We expect the international community to step up and increase their monetary contribution,” Natalia Kanem, UN under-secretary general, told a press conference in the capital Dhaka capping her four-day visit to Bangladesh on the Rohingya issue.
The UN in March appealed for $950 million in humanitarian assistance for the some one million Rohingya and 300,000 locals affected by the refugee influx, she said.
Only 17 percent of the money has so far been received, said Kanem, also head of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
‘Treat Rohingya children as your own’
Separately, Indian actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Priyanka Chopra said the world could learn from Bangladesh how to better respond to humanitarian crises.
She made the remarks during a courtesy call on Bangladeshi Premier Sheikh Hasina following her four-day visit to Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar.
“The world should learn from Bangladesh,” a Prime Ministry spokesman quoted Chopra as saying, reported state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sanstha (BSS) news agency.
The Bollywood celebrity praised Bangladesh for sheltering a million forcibly displaced Rohingya from Myanmar, additional press secretary Nazrul Islam told reporters.
“The world will have to take the responsibility of the Rohingya children,” she said.
“Open your hearts with compassion. Please be sympathetic and treat these children as your own,” Priyanka told a separate press conference.
She also said she feared a “lost generation” as many of the Rohingya children have no access to proper education and other basic facilities.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, some 750,000 Rohingya, mostly children and women, have fled to bordering Bangladesh after Myanmar forces began a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to Amnesty International.
At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Myanmar’s Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, 2017, according to Doctors Without Borders.
In a report published last December, the global humanitarian group said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.
Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has raised the issue at the UN.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.