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MEDIA NOTE: Rohingya crisis, one year on – ODI expert available for interview

Written by Christina Bennett

Press Release

Ahead of the first anniversary of the beginning of the Rohingya crisis this week (August 25), the Overseas Development Institute has experts available to discuss the current situation and whether there is a possible solution to the crisis.

More than a million Rohingya refugees are now displaced in Bangladesh after fleeing violence and persecution in Myanmar.

Researchers from ODI have recently visited Cox’s Bazar, a district hosting the largest refugee camp in the world and home to most of the Rohingya who fled last year, to investigate the humanitarian response.

Christina Bennett, head of the Humanitarian Policy Group at ODI, is available for interview this week to discuss these issues and what the international community should be doing to help one year on.

Christina, an international aid policy analyst with extensive experience working for the United Nations, will be able to talk about:

  • What has changed? While the situation remains critical, considering the scale of need the government of Bangladesh and international aid responders provided life-saving aid impressively fast. The camps themselves are clearly very difficult places to work. They are tightly packed, chaotic and, as seen this summer, highly vulnerable to the effects of monsoon rains. Conditions on the ground are still locked in emergency mode and there are government restrictions placed on access to the camps and the type of aid allowed within them. This is to discourage longer-term settlement, but it also means that many needs, such as basic education and mental health support, remain unmet a year on.
  • Is this crisis solvable? The Government of Bangladesh and the international community are counting on the return of the Rohingya to Myanmar as the solution to this crisis.  The reality on the ground is that conditions – in terms of the rights, status and treatment of the Rohingya - in Myanmar presently negate the potential for rapid and sustainable return.  The government in Myanmar needs to recognise the rights of the Rohingya as a pre-condition for their return.
  • What needs to happen now and in the medium term? Next year at this time, we do not want to be operating in emergency mode. The Government of Bangladesh, with the support of the international community, must put in place legal, financial and protective measures to be able to support the Rohingya as refugees for an extended period of time. At the same time, the international community must pressure Myanmar to recognise the rights of the Rohingya and stop their persecution.

For more information or to arrange an interview with Christina Bennett please contact James Rush on [email protected] or +44 (0)7808 791265.