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Be patient: UNHCR tells Bangladesh on Rohingya repatriation

UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Volker Turk, has urged all “to be patient and persistent” as he does not see overnight solution to the Rohingya crisis.

“This [return] is not going to happen in one day. We need to be patient and persistent and be clear about how we can ensure their return,” he said at a press briefing in Dhaka on Tuesday, the last day of his Bangladesh visit.

During his five-day visit, Turk met some of over 600,000 Rohingyas who have fled violence in Myanmar since Aug 25.

He quoted one Abdul Salam who told him that he escaped to Bangladesh four times since 1942 when he first escaped Japanese army. Then in 1978 and the third time was around 1991.

But this time, it was the most difficult for him.

“We had to cross 11 hills and spend 12 days hiding in the forest.

I couldn’t walk or see, so they had to carry me,” he quoted Salam.

The UNHCR is working with the Bangladesh government and its partners to provide life-saving assistance and protection for the refugees.

This includes providing food, clean water, shelter and healthcare, as well as trauma counselling and reunification for separated families.

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