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UN agency denounces lack of access to undocumented Rohingyas in Bangladesh

A file picture showing Muslim people carrying relief supplies from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) near the burnt down market in KyetYoePyin village, near Maungdaw town of Bangladesh-Myanmar border, Rakhine State, western Myanmar, Mar. 30, 2017. EPA/NYEIN CHAN NAING

May 24, 2017

Dhaka -- The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tuesday decried lack of access to around 200,000 undocumented Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh, including the nearly 74,000 recently-arrived members of the minority from neighboring Myanmar.

At a press conference in Dhaka, officials from the UN Refugee Agency rued that despite the heavy influx of refugees into Bangladesh following the Oct. 2016 attacks on the minority in Myanmar, Bangladeshi authorities have limited the agency's work to two camps that do not include these displaced members of the community.

UNHCR Representative in Bangladesh Shinji Kubo said they have not received official permission for access to Rohingyas outside the camps.

He added the UN agency's appeals to Bangladeshi authorities to secure access to undocumented Rohingyas outside the camps has fallen on deaf ears so far.

He said several tasks such as resource mobilization could not take place until they have formal permission to access the Rohingyas.

In a subsequent statement, the UNHCR stressed that presently, they can only help the 33,148 Rohingyas lodged in the camps in Cox Bazaar, bordering Myanmar.

This makes it very difficult for UNHCR to independently verify their situation and supply official information on them, said the statement, adding the agency continues to seek official access to effectively provide for their urgent humanitarian aid needs.

Dhaka estimates there are between 300,000 to 500,000 undocumented Rohingyas living in the country.

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