Although the massive outflow of Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh grabbed worldwide headlines, the international community must not forget that more than 400,000 of the minority group are living in dire situations at home, a senior United Nations official said Tuesday.
“There is a humanitarian crisis on both sides of the Bangladesh-Myanmar border that is affecting the world’s largest group of stateless people,” Ursula Mueller, the UN’s deputy relief chief, told reporters in New York, following her recent visit to Myanmar.
“The unfolding tragedy in the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar [Bangladesh] rightly captured the world’s attention, but we cannot, and must not, forget the plight of over 400,000 Muslim people still living in Rakhine State who continue to face a life of hardship and marginalization due to movement restrictions,” she added.
These restrictions severely compromise their rights and obstruct their access to health, livelihoods, protection, education, and other essential services, she said.
Prior to the press conference, Ms. Mueller, who is the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, spoke to UN News about what she had seen inside Myanmar and about a meeting with some top officials, including State Counsellor and Nobel Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
“We discussed the importance of ending the violence, of stability and peace and reconciliation. I offered the support of the United Nations to address the humanitarian needs and the protection needs that are across the whole country, and advocated for access for humanitarian actors,” Ms. Mueller said of the meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi.
The UN deputy relief chief digs deeper into the crisis in our full interview here: