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Christian charities join call to end worsening crisis in Myanmar

by Tola Mbakwe

It's been two years since families have been forced from their homes by mass atrocities in Myanmar.

Almost one million of the Rohingya people group are struggling for safety in Bangladesh as refugees. Conflict there is escalating and humanitarian access is limited.

The charities have urged the Governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar to ensure that any return process be safe, voluntary and dignified, as news of the possible expedited repatriation of 3,450 Rohingya refugees circulated this week.

Since the conflict started, Christian Aid and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have assisted the Government of Bangladesh and UN agencies to provide life-sustaining support to Rohingya living in the refugee camps in Cox's Bazar.

It said these collective efforts have stabilised camp conditions, strengthened monsoon preparedness and helped prevent disease outbreaks. However, Christian Aid said much more needs to be done on both sides of the Myanmar/Bangladesh border.

Deborah Hyams, Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Advisor at the charity said:  "We call on the international community to act now.

"Most urgently, the UK and other governments need to address the funding shortfall - the 2019 Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya crisis is only 35 percent funded to date - and to help ensure that no refugees are repatriated to Myanmar against their will."

She added that it's essential that rights of the Rohingya are "fully respected, including the freedom of movement and access to livelihoods and citizenship."

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