Monday, December 6, 2021

Only 8,300 Rohingya refugees sent to third countries over past 18 years

The US has taken in the most at over 7,000 while Finland only took one.

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Malaysia could only send 8,312 Rohingya refugees to third countries including the US, Australia, Canada and Japan, from 2003 to 2021, Deputy Foreign Minister Kamarudin Jaffar said today.

He said the issue of the resettlement of Rohingya refugees in third countries was often highlighted by the government in discussions with foreign nations and on international platforms, but with few results.

“The US has been taking in the most number of refugees with over 7,000 people while Finland only took one in the past 18 years, so the results are not very encouraging.

“As such, we need to continue to work with countries around the world, especially through Asean,” he said during the oral question-and-answer session at the Dewan Rakyat.

He said this in reply to a supplementary question from Mohd Nizar Zakaria (BN-Parit) on whether Malaysia is able to handle the Rohingya refugees in the country, said to have increased to over 200,000 people.

Kamarudin also said the ministry had been working with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to seek ways to speed up the resettlement of Rohingya refugees in third countries.

“Malaysia has also repeatedly stressed that our country cannot afford to accommodate the increasing number of Rohingya refugees and had called on the international community to come forward to help find a lasting solution,” he said.

In reply to Nizar’s original question on the ministry’s joint efforts with Asean countries to resolve the Rohingya issue, Kamarudin said Malaysia had often emphasised the importance of Asean to urge Myanmar to address the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine state.

He said Malaysia had also strongly urged Myanmar to implement the recommendations submitted by the Asean-Emergency Response and Assessment Team as well as the Comprehensive Needs Assessment.

“This is to ensure that the repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar is voluntary, carried out safely and with dignity and that the number of refugees heading for Malaysia is reduced,” he said.

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