Today, in makeshift camps in Bangladesh, hundreds of thousands of Roningya refugees from Burma live in utter destitution with no hope for their futures. As it now stands, the Rohingya will live, suffer and die in these oppressive camps or out at sea in search of a better life.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated to protect the world's refugees, but where is the protection of the Rohingya? The Rohingya cannot return to Burma and will not be permitted to integrate into Bangladeshi society with the full rights of a citizen. Resettlement to a well-resourced country is the only option that will offer the Rohingya protection and chance to rebuild their lives in dignity.
Demand action from the UNHCR and the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement to prioritize the resettlement of the Rohingya refugees and offer them the protection they, like all of us, deserve.
While UNHCR has prioritized the resettlement of many refugees from Burma including the Karen, Chin and Karenni, an inquiry into the durable solutions for the Rohingya refugees remains conspicuously absent.
As recently covered in the New York Times, the conditions in the Bangladeshi camps are among the most destitute in the world. The Rohingya remain persecuted in Burma and have been systematically turned out and unjustly detained by the countries in which they seek protection. Resettlement remains the only option for the Rohingya people.
Given the nature of suffering among the Rohingya in Bangladesh, Thailand and Malaysia, it is of dire consequence that the UNHCR and resettlement countries open up an avenue for resettlement of the Rohingya.
It is the duty of UNHCR to protect the world's victims of forced migration, and the responsibility of the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement to open its arms to people in need. Please extend this attention and protection to the Rohingya by immediately initiating a resettlement solution.