Bangladesh + 1 more

UNHCR Bangladesh Operational Update, 8 December 2017

Situation Report
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UNHCR issued a statement on the return arrangement signed between Myanmar and Bangladesh, stressing that conditions in Myanmar are not yet conducive for returns.

The trend of new arrivals has considerably decreased with least 270 people crossing into Bangladesh so far in December, compared with 20,000 in November.

There is currently an outbreak of diphtheria among refugees in Cox’s Bazar. UNHCR has made its Transit Centre available to serve as a treatment and isolation facility

Operational Context

Since 25 August 2017, 646,000 refugees have fled targeted violence and serious human rights violations in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state, bringing the total number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to close to one million.

Newly arrived refugees are settling in the border areas in the South-east of Bangladesh, where an estimated 307,500 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar were already living. Weather conditions, the hilly terrain, and the lack of roads limit access to the refugees, especially those living in more remote areas of the spontaneous settlements.

On 24 November 2017, the Governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh signed a bilateral “Arrangement” on the returns of refugees from Myanmar. UNHCR continues to engage with both governments on UNHCR’s role in the voluntary returns process and to address the most pressing challenges to the Arrangement, including its scope, timeframe, and eligibility criteria. Refugees will need accurate information so as to make their own wellinformed choices on return to Myanmar.

At present, a steady flow of new arrivals continues to cross into Bangladesh in search of safety. 20,000 refugees arrived in Bangladesh in November alone. Conditions in Myanmar’s Rakhine State are not in place to enable safe and sustainable returns. In Bangladesh, UNHCR is working closely with the authorities and partners to provide protection and assistance to the refugees, and to support affected host populations.