UNHCR urges steps to stem the flow of people out of Rakhine StateListen / The UN refugee agency –UNHCR says it stands ready to provide the Myanmar government with technical support to register all internally displaced people (IDPs) and to promote reconciliation so that voluntary returns to places of origin can eventually take place in a safe and sustainable way.
Up to 140,000 people remain displaced a year after inter-communal violence erupted in Myanmar's Rakhine State.
UNHCR Spokesperson Adrian Edwards says the agency says it is working with the Myanmar authorities to advocate for action to promote dialogue and peaceful co-existence between the communities to pave the way for voluntary return.
“Active steps, we believe, must also be taken to stem the outflow of people from Rakhine state. Since last June, more than 27,000 people – the majority believed to be from Rakhine state – have embarked on dangerous boat journeys from the Bay of Bengal in search of safety and stability in other countries. Scores have died in their attempts.”
UNHCR says many have endured weeks of drifting in the high seas with little food or water. Some were reportedly pushed back from the shores of neighbouring states, while others were detained upon arrival in South-east Asia.
UNHCR has appealed to governments in the region to keep their doors open to people in need of international protection.
Donn Bobb, United Nations.