By mid-year 2020, there were an estimated 1.9 million persons of concern to UNHCR from Myanmar in the Asia-Pacific region. The vast majority—about 1.6 million—were Rohingya, a minority group from Myanmar who have been forcibly displaced across the region. Myanmar’s discriminatory citizenship laws have stripped nearly all Rohingya of their citizenship, making them the largest identified stateless community in the world. UNHCR has registered almost one million Rohingya refugees and asylum-seekers, mostly in Bangladesh (860,000), Malaysia (101,000) and India (18,000), as well as smaller numbers in Indonesia,
Nepal, Thailand, and other countries. An estimated 600,000 Rohingya continue to remain in Rakhine State,
Myanmar, of whom 142,000 are internally displaced.
Despite an expressed desire to return to Myanmar, Rohingya refugees say they are not yet confident that the environment in Rakhine State has improved to the point that they could return in safety and dignity, and none have so far returned under bilateral arrangements on voluntary repatriation between Bangladesh and Myanmar (detailed below). To advance solutions for the Rohingya, avoid an even more protracted displacement, and ensure that they can meanwhile live in dignity wherever they are, UNHCR and its partners are focusing their efforts on four areas:
? **Addressing the root causes: **The solution to the Rohingya crisis lies in Myanmar, through Myanmar’s full implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, which would pave the way for peace for and between all communities in Rakhine State and enable the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation of Rohingya refugees.
? Maintaining humanitarian assistance: Significant material support will be needed to maintain lifesaving assistance and uphold basic standards of living for Rohingya refugees in host countries and those internally displaced and stateless in Myanmar.
? Expanding opportunities: Rohingya children and youth need to have hope for a life with dignity.
Education, skills development, and livelihoods are vital to preparing them for full, productive roles in society and empowering them to envision a future of personal growth and self-reliance, which in turn will make them less vulnerable to exploitation, including smuggling and trafficking.
? Investing in host communities: Development investments are needed in host communities to help them mitigate the socioeconomic pressures of hosting refugees, particularly in the wake of the COVID19 pandemic. As solutions are found for Rohingya refugees, host communities need support to make them more resilient, not less, than when the refugees first arrived.
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees