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The Rohingya response in Bangladesh and the Global Compact on Refugees: lessons, challenges and opportunities

Working paper

Written by Kerrie Holloway, Veronique Barbelet

Working paper

Between August and October 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingya people fled from Rakhine State, Myanmar to Bangladesh. This was the latest of several instances of Rohingya displacement from Myanmar since the late 1970s.

Almost in parallel, in mid-2017, consultations were underway in Geneva towards a long-awaited Global Compact on Refugees (GCR).The sheer complexity of the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh provides an opportunity to stress test some of the GCR’s objectives and assumptions, while also exploring what these principles might look like in practice.

This report explores how far the GCR – adopted by 181 UN Member States, including Bangladesh, in December 2018 – has informed the response to the Rohingya crisis. It analyses the extent to which the GCR has explicitly been used in the context, alongside how far its principles have been applied ‘in spirit’, as well as identifying opportunities to use the possibilities presented by the GCR to improve outcomes in the Rohingya response.

Karen Hargrave, Kerrie Holloway, Veronique Barbelet and M. Abu Eusuf