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Conditions in Myanmar's Rakhine not in place to enable safe returns – UN refugee agency

Conditions in Myanmar's Rakhine not in place to enable safe returns – UN refugee agency

India Blooms News Service | | 24 Nov 2017, 11:04 pm

New York, Nov 24(Just Earth News): Amid reports of an agreement between the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar on return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar, the United Nations refugee agency has underscored that the returns must be voluntary, and take place in safe and dignified conditions.

 

“At present, conditions in Myanmar's Rakhine state are not in place to enable safe and sustainable returns. Refugees are still fleeing, and many have suffered violence, rape, and deep psychological harm,” Adrian Edwards, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told journalists at a regular media briefing in Geneva Friday.

“It is critical that returns do not take place precipitously or prematurely, without the informed consent of refugees or the basic elements of lasting solutions in place,” he stressed.

Over the past three months, widespread inter-communal violence in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state resulted in some 622,000 people fleeing into neighbouring Bangladesh. Prior to this latest crisis, Bangladesh was already hosting well over 200,000 Rohingya refugees as a result of earlier displacements.

According to the UN refugee agency, some of those who fled witnessed the deaths of family and friends, and most have little or nothing to go back to with their homes and villages destroyed.

“Deep divisions between communities remain unaddressed,” added Edwards, underscoring that progress towards addressing the root causes of flight, including lack of citizenship for members of the Rohingya community, as recommended by the Rakhine Advisory Commission, will also be crucial.

Furthermore, humanitarian access in northern Rakhine state remains negligible.

At the briefing, the UNHCR spokesperson also noted that the UN agency looks forward to seeing details of the agreement between the two countries, and that it stands ready to help both governments work towards a solution for the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh that meets international refugee and human rights standards.

“Refugees have the right to return [and] a framework that enables them to exercise this right in line with international standards, will be welcome,” he said.

UNICEF/LeMoyneSource: www.justearthnews.com

 

 

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm