UN praises Turkey’s effort for Rohingya refugees

UN praises Turkey’s effort for Rohingya refugees

UN praises Turkey’s effort for Rohingya refugees

The United Nations high commissioner for refugees on Oct. 23 hailed Turkey as “a generous humanitarian donor” after it pledged to spend $50 million on supporting Rohingya refugees.

“I would like to say that Turkey continues to be a generous humanitarian donor globally besides the largest refugee-hosting country in the world,” Filippo Grandi told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency in Geneva after an international donor-pledging conference for Rohingya Muslims who fled violence in Myanmar.

“We have to continue to improve the response to the very massive crisis, the biggest and the fastest we have seen in many years,” Grandi added.

During the interview, Grandi also thanked Bangladesh for hosting refugees.

“More than 800,000 stateless Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh aspire to a life that meets their immediate needs for food, medicine, water, and shelter. But beyond that, a life that has hope for the future where their identity is recognized, they are free from discrimination, and are able to return safely to their homes in Myanmar. As we come together in solidarity, I want to thank Bangladesh and its refugee-hosting communities and the donors for supporting them,” he added.

The conference on Rohingya Muslims began on Oct. 23.

Turkey had “one of the highest, if not the highest,” pledge at the donor conference, William Lacy Swing, head of the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration, told Anadolu Agency following the conference.

“Within the humanitarian assistance program, we plan to build medium-term shelter units for 100,000 people on a land of 3 million square meters, provide two field hospitals, 10 health and family health centers, deliver drinking water wells and water sanitation [plus] fresh food aid to the municipalities,” Turkey’s ambassador to the U.N. office in Geneva, Naci Koru, told the conference.

“Together with planned projects and deliveries, the total amount of humanitarian aid provided by Turkey will exceed $50 million,” Koru added.

Saying that the Rohingya crisis needs immediate and coordinated action, Koru noted that Turkey’s efforts are ongoing in coordination with Dhaka.

“We are committed to continue our support to Rohingya Muslims in close coordination with the authorities in Bangladesh,” he said.

According to U.N. humanitarian agencies, $228 million was raised in the conference.

The U.S. State Department said the United States, which did not pony up any new funds on Oct. 23, was “currently reviewing appeals for possible additional funding,” a U.S. official said. Canada also did not pledge new funding, but said it would do so in the coming days.

Since Aug. 25, over 600,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the U.N.

The refugees are fleeing a military operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.

Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has raised the issue at the U.N.