"The international community has not forgotten the refugees or host communities supporting the Rohingya refugees," US Ambassador Earl R Miller said.
He made the statement after a visit to Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar from March 3-4. Australian High Commissioner Jeremy Bruer and Japanese Ambassador Ito Naoki were also in the delegation that visited the camps.
The delegation met government officials and international agencies assisting host communities and Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar. They reiterated their unwavering support for Bangladesh's refugee response, according to a statement issued by the US embassy in Dhaka yesterday.
It also visited a disaster preparedness project, food programmes, a learning centre, a health facility, and spoke with community health volunteers about their role in the Covid-19 response in the refugee camps and host communities.
The latest visit marks a year since the first cases of coronavirus were reported in Bangladesh. It was the first visit since the October 2020 Rohingya donor conference, which raised nearly $600 million in additional relief funds for Rohingya refugees and host communities.
Since the outbreak of violence in Myanmar in 2017, Australia has provided over $240 million, Japan has contributed $140 million, and the US responded with an assistance of $1.2 billion in humanitarian assistance to Rohingya and host communities in Cox's Bazar.
"We continue to work with international organisations to encourage Myanmar to create the conditions that allow for the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of refugees," said Miller.
"We strongly support all those calling on the Myanmar military to restore power to the democratically elected government, release all those who have been unjustly detained, and cease attacks on journalists, activists, and others.
"The military must exercise maximum restraint and refrain from additional violence."
Australian High Commissioner Bruer said Covid-19 created many new challenges in Cox's Bazar.
"With case numbers steadying and with the vaccine in sight, it is as important as ever, for us to work together with the Bangladesh authorities to ensure humanitarian partners can deliver the much-needed assistance to both Rohingya and Host communities," said the high commissioner.
Japanese Ambassador Ito said the aim of the visit was to further promote support for Bangladesh and to strengthen cooperation with international organisations and NGOs.
"We strongly hope that, as the coronavirus situation has been improving, comprehensive service delivery including education will restart soon," the ambassador said.
Published : March 07, 2021
By : The Daily Star