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For Rohingya refugees: Your little help can be a big change

 Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority in Myanmar, has suffered from persecution and violence as early as the 1970s. Nothing much has changed since. UNHCR/Released

MANILA, Philippines—In the world that has progressed by leaps and bounds, it is unthinkable that there remain people without a state to call their own.

Excluded, deprived and denied, stateless people are born without legal identities. They can’t access basic human rights like education, health care, marriage and job opportunities throughout their lifetime. And upon death, they are not given a decent and official burial.

This has been the life of the Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority in Myanmar, who has suffered from persecution and violence as early as the 1970s. Nothing much has changed since.

In August, violent attacks broke anew in northern Rakhine state, home to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who are now fleeing for their lives anew.

“We call on the international community to intensify efforts to bring a peaceful solution to the plight of the Rohingya, to end the desperate exodus, to support host communities and ensure the conditions that will allow for refugees’ eventual voluntary return in safety and dignity. The origins and, thus, the solutions to this crisis lie in Myanmar,” reads a joint statement of United Nations principals including UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. 

Refugees in Bangladesh

 

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In the months that followed, the Rohingya have crossed borders to take refuge in Bangladesh. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, more than 600,000 have arrived in the neighboring country after a long, hard and desperate journey. This is in addition to 307,500 Rohingya refugees who have already settled in previous years.

The UN refugee agency is on ground to provide immediate care and protection to the Rohingya refugees and prevent further lives lost.

The UN, including UNHCR, has also launched a Joint Response Plan to meet the life-saving needs of all Rohingya refugees and their host communities—together an estimated 1.2 million people. A $434-million fund is required to sustain the large-scale humanitarian effort.

Little help, big change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And while Bangladesh is about 2,200 miles away from the Philippines, we Filipinos can still help.

“The scale of the amount required and the gravity of this humanitarian crisis makes one person from the Philippines, residing several miles away, seem powerless. It is easy to leave the solution to decision-makers and key actors that will shore up the funds required. But this is very far from the truth; we must not let the staggering level of displacement paralyze us from taking action,” the UNHCR told Philstar.com.

UNHCR is calling on Filipinos to donate to the cause and help the plight of the Rohingya. This will fund rescue kits that contain sleeping mats, blankets, kitchen sets, jerry cans, mosquito nets, solar lamps, clothes, plastic sheets and buckets.

These items, although basic, prove crucial in life-saving assistance aided by UNHCR. Besides this, donations will also be used in giving shelters, food and clean water, as well as addressing emergency needs of the refugees.

With a rich history of humanitarian assistance, UNHCR believes that Filipinos will reach out to the Rohingya.

“In the Philippines’ modern history, there have been nine waves of providing humanitarian support for refugees from Russia, Spain, Iran, Vietnam, China, and East Timor. Indeed, the Filipino is strongly rooted in its rich history of providing humanitarian support,” said UNHCR.

“What makes Filipinos special is that they seem to naturally and intuitively understand and empathize with people who have been uprooted from their homes by war, conflict, violence, persecution, and calamities,” the UN Refugee Agency added.

Do your part and donate today at https://donate.unhcr.ph/rohingya

Disclaimer: This a sponsored content and is not covered by Philstar.com's editorial guidelines.

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