OCHA Briefing on situation of Rohingya Refugees

Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 18.10.2017
Thank you Under Secretary-General for your extensive briefing on the tragic situation of the Rohingya refugees.

We are deeply concerned about the developments in northern Rakhine State.

Incidents of arson, extortion, harassment, looting continue to be reported.

Last week, I read about the story of Rajuma, who described to a New York Times reporter, the harrowing chain of events that led to the obliteration of her village and the massacre of her family.

Her deeply disturbing account of what happened to her baby, who was thrown into fire; her sisters, who were raped and killed and; herself, who was beaten to death and left to die, was perhaps one of the many excruciating memories that will haunt our generation in years to come.

Dear Colleagues,

Problems in Rakhine State may have very serious implications for the regional and even global security.

If the international community does not take a firm stand on the matter, the situation bears the risk of being hijacked by radical elements.

We think the gravity of the situation in Myanmar necessitates the consideration of the situation, as part of the formal agenda of the UN Security Council deliberations. Relegating the matter to unofficial Council meetings is not the right approach.

Furthermore, we are now faced with a growing humanitarian tragedy. This should be a concern for the whole international community.

With this understanding, Turkey has been exerting every effort to alleviate the suffering of innocent people, including Rohingya Muslims, who were forced to leave their homes.

Soon after the humanitarian crisis unfolded, the First Lady of Turkey, together with our Foreign Minister visited Cox’s Bazar, observed the horrifying situation on the ground and offered our assistance.

More recently, our Deputy Prime Minister also visited the region to discuss how our assistance can be put in place in the most expeditious manner.

Meanwhile, we took the initiative to organize a meeting on the sidelines of OIC Science and Technology Summit in Astana in September.

We also worked closely with the OIC to organize a high level OIC Rohingya Contact Group meeting on the margins of the high level week of the UN General Assembly on September 19th.

The Declaration adopted at this meeting, which was opened to wider participation from non-OIC members as well as UN agencies, was a strong manifestation of the mounting concern of the international community.

We now observe an overall agreement in the international community on the following four points:

· Military actions against civilians and violence must stop immediately.
· Unimpeded humanitarian access should be guaranteed.
· Safe and dignified return of IDPs and the refugees should be provided.
· A long-term solution based on the report of the Rakhine Advisory Commission is necessary.

As mentioned today by others, humanitarian assistance to both Rakhine State and Bangladesh is very urgent.

For Rakhine State, Turkey is working to deliver aid through our development agency TIKA.

There is also a developing cooperation between Turkish Red Crescent and Myanmar Red Cross Societies.
In Bangladesh, we try to assist the humanitarian efforts of the Government of Bangladesh.

We recognize that responsibility and burden sharing by the international community, especially in line with the spirit of New York Declaration is very much needed.

To this end, Turkish Red Crescent and AFAD have been working to in Cox’s Bazar.

Our aim is to establish shelters for 100 thousand refugees as a first step. We also plan to deliver food and tent and dispatch two field hospitals.

We commend the humanitarian efforts by the UN agencies as well as the IOM and other organizations.

However, it is extremely worrying to observe that most humanitarian activities of UN agencies across Rakhine remain either suspended or severely interrupted.

We need to work with the Government of Myanmar to find a lasting solution to the ongoing crisis.

Turkey will continue its endeavors to draw the attention of all parties into the tragedy of Rohingya and deliver lifesaving humanitarian assistance to those in need.

Thank you.