Today marks one year since the outbreak of violence in Rakhine State.
The resulting Rohingya crisis is our region’s largest humanitarian emergency – with over 900,000 displaced Rohingya in need in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, and more than 530,000 remaining in Rakhine State in Myanmar. Many are women and children, who are survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, have lost family members and have no means to support their most basic human needs without international assistance.
We commend the Government of Bangladesh for its generous response to the crisis and for hosting such a large displaced population.
Australia is focused on the plight of the Rohingya and affected communities in Bangladesh and Myanmar. Our $70 million of humanitarian assistance provides emergency supplies to Rakhine State and food, shelter, clean water and essential health services to Cox’s Bazar. Our support prioritises the needs of women and children, who remain vulnerable to violence and exploitation, including trafficking. We thank UN agencies and NGOs for their tireless work in the face of difficulties on the ground and reiterate the need for full, unhindered humanitarian access.
Australia repeats our call for justice for those who have suffered. Perpetrators must be held to account. This is why Australia has supported the UN Fact Finding Mission and its independent investigation. We will respond to its final report when presented at the Human Rights Council in September.
We urge Myanmar to take action on human rights violations. We welcome the establishment of Myanmar’s Commission of Enquiry, which needs to be provided with authority to respond comprehensively to abuses. We encourage Myanmar to engage with the findings of the UN Fact Finding Mission and any other evidence of abuses.
Myanmar has taken an important first step in agreeing to work with the UNDP and UNHCR, through an MOU to create conditions in Rakhine State conducive to repatriation. We call on Myanmar to allow UN agencies the full access they need to implement this effectively. Let us also honour the late Kofi Annan by renewing our efforts to implement the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State which he led.