Keep border open for Myanmar nationals, UNHCR tells Bangladesh

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Geneva, Feb 9 (IANS) The UN refugee agency has called on Bangladeshi authorities “to continue to allow” into the country people fleeing ongoing violence in Myanmar amid the deteriorating security situation there.

The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) issued the statement on Friday amid its concern about the humanitarian impact of continuing violence in southern Chin State and Rakhine State in Myanmar, bdnews24.com reported.

UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic in Geneva said it was aware of reports of escalating violence and a deteriorating security situation in Myanmar’s states. “This has reportedly led to internal displacement and a number of new arrivals from Myanmar seeking safety in the Bandarban border region of Bangladesh.

“The UNHCR is deeply concerned about the humanitarian impact of continuing violence in Myanmar and the potential for both further internal displacement and the outflow of refugees,” Mahecic said.

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He added that as part of inter-agency efforts, the UNHCR was ready to support the humanitarian response in the affected areas in Myanmar.

“The UNHCR has also offered its support to the government of Bangladesh to assess and respond to the needs of people who have arrived seeking safety from violence in Myanmar.”

Bangladesh has given shelter to over 720,000 Rohingya who have fled ethnic cleansing since August 2017. The figure has taken the number of Myanmar nationals living in Bangladesh to more than 1.1 million.

But their return plan to Myanmar has been postponed as they do not want to go back fearing their safety and security. The UN agencies, including the UNHCR, have been advocating for safe, voluntary and dignified return to Rakhine State.

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–IANS

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