Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Questions (41)

Seán Haughey

Question:

41. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of the situation of the Rohingya, including reports that a number of Rohingya refugees are being quarantined on an unstable island in the Bay of Bengal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5510/20]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The situation of the Rohingya community remains precarious and of significant concern. Over 740,000 predominantly Rohingya refuges now reside in Bangladesh, having fled neighbouring Rakhine State, Myanmar, following the escalation of military operations there in 2017. There are significant numbers of people also displaced internally in Rakhine and the situation remains unstable with ongoing violence generating further displacement of civilians. The situation is also compounded by instances of COVID-19 within vulnerable communities in both Myanmar and Bangladesh (including in Cox’s Bazar Town).

Ireland, together with our EU partners, has consistently pressed for those responsible for the crimes that precipitated this crisis to be held to account and has engaged in a number of actions at international level in this regard. We are also committed to combatting the humanitarian crisis that has unfolded and to assisting Bangladesh which has shown continued generosity to the Rohingya community in the face of enormous pressure. Ireland has provided direct funding of over €3.6 million to the Rohingya crisis since 2017. A further €1m is due to be contributed to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) response in Bangladesh in 2020.

I am aware of recent reports of Rohingya people stranded in boats in the Bay of Bengal in appalling conditions. The EU has recently urged Governments in the region to provide rescue operations and assistance to these people. I am aware that Bangladesh has granted safe landing and assistance to a significant number of those concerned and that some have been relocated to Bhasan Char Island. Ireland urges all Governments in the region to provide safe landing, assistance and shelter in safe and sustainable living conditions to these refugees, in coordination with the relevant UN agencies.

Ireland will continue to work with our EU and other international partners to press for a long-term sustainable resolution to the Rohingya crisis that will provide a pathway for the safe, sustainable, dignified, and voluntary return of the Rohingya refugees to their places of origin and for ensuring full accountability for the crimes committed against them.