Dhaka, February 5
Hollywood megastar Angelina Jolie on Tuesday said Myanmar must show “genuine commitment” to end violence against the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state and create conducive environment for their return to resolve the world’s worst refugee crisis.
Over 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have taken refuge in Bangladesh after fleeing from Rakhine state in neighbouring Myanmar to evade atrocities, which the UN called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”, following the military clampdown in August 2017.
Jolie, the special envoy for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), visited various refugee camps on the outskirts of Cox’s Bazar and spoke to Rohingyas and listened to their horrifying stories.
“I urge the Myanmar authorities to show the genuine commitment needed to end the cycle of violence and displacement and improve the condition of all communities in Rakhine state including the Rohingya,” the special envoy of the UN Refugee Agency told reporters.
The 43-year-old Hollywood actor arrived here yesterday and visited a refugee camp in Teknaf near the Myanmar border.
Jolie said any government’s “test and measure” was reflected in its treatment to the most vulnerable people of the society and how “they (governments) treat those who stand up for the vulnerable and speak out for the atrocities committed against them”.
“The people responsible for human rights violations (in Myanmar) must be held accountable for their action,” she said after visiting the world’s largest refugee settlement ahead of a new UN appeal to raise nearly USD one billion for the Rohingyas in Bangladesh.
Describing Bangladesh as a “generous country with rich culture and history but with limited resources”, she said it must not be left to tackle the crisis alone.
She urged the international community to continue to provide the humanitarian aid necessary to meet the needs of the refuges as well as support the local community who generously hosted the huge numbers of displaced Rohingyas.
“I am humbled and proud to stand with you (Rohingyas) today, you have every right to living security, to be free to practice your religion and to coexist with people of other faiths and ethnicities, you have every right not to be stateless and the way you have been treated (in Myanmar) shames us all,” she said.
The special UNHCR envoy will conclude her Bangladesh tour tomorrow when she is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen.
During the meetings, Jolie was expected to discuss how the UN Refugee Agency could best support the current response led by the Bangladeshi government, along with the need for safe and sustainable solutions to their plights, an official said.
The UN said it was set to launch of a new appeal for the humanitarian situation in Bangladesh - the 2019 Joint Response Plan - which seeks to raise some USD 920 million to continue meeting the basic needs of Rohingyas and the communities so generously hosting them.
This is Jolie’s first visit to Bangladesh but she also met Rohingyas during a visit to Myanmar in July 2015 and in India in 2006. — PTI
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