United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday that the international humanitarian appeal for the Rohingya crisis "remains significantly underfunded at 33 percent."
Noting that the massive refugee emergency that began one year ago in Rakhine State, Myanmar, has become "one of the world's worst humanitarian and human rights crises," the UN chief said that "the response to the crisis must be a global one."
Speaking at a Security Council meeting to mark one year of the refugee exodus from Myanmar, Guterres said that "much more must be done to alleviate the very real risks to life from current and impending monsoons."
The secretary-general expressed his gratitude to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim for mobilizing almost half a billion dollars in grant-based support for Rohingya refugees and host communities.
"The grant-based assistance approved by the Asian Development Bank is also crucial in meeting medium-term needs and providing assistance towards life-saving priorities," he said.
Noting that "conditions are not yet met for the safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees to their places of origin or choice," the UN chief said that he wants members of the Security Council to join him in urging the Myanmar authorities to cooperate with the UN, and to ensure immediate, unimpeded and effective access for its agencies and partners.
Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres speaks during a United Nations Security Council meeting about Myanmar at United Nations Headquarters in New York City, New York, US, August 28, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]
"Access is critical to meet the enormous needs, and to allay the fears of refugees who would like to return home," he said.
"There can be no excuse for delaying the search for dignified solutions that will allow people to return to their areas of origin in safety and dignity, in line with international standards and human rights. The United Nations remains ready to help develop such a plan," said the UN chief.
"Voluntary relocation along with freedom of movement, an end to segregation and discrimination, inclusive development, the re-establishment of the rule of law and public safety are essential," he added.
File photo: In this Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017 file photo, Rohingya woman, Rukaya Begum, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, holds her son Mahbubur Rehman, left and her daughter Rehana Bibi, after the government moved them to newly allocated refugee camp areas, near Kutupalong, Bangladesh. [Photo/IC]
The Security Council on Tuesday afternoon was briefed by the UN chief, the UN Refugee Agency Goodwill Ambassador Cate Blanchett, and UN Development Programme (UNDP) Associate Administrator Tegegnework Gettu on the situation in Myanmar and the Rohingya refugee crisis. The British Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN, Lord Ahmad, chaired the meeting.
Britain, this month's president and the lead on Myanmar in the Council, has chosen to hold a meeting on Myanmar to mark the one-year anniversary of the crisis that has led to more than 750,000 refugees fleeing to Bangladesh.