Refugee Crisis Current Affairs

Tanzania withdraws from UN refugee programme

Tanzania has announced its withdrawal of United Nation’s “Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework” citing security reasons and lack of funds. Tanzania has long been considered as safe haven for refugees, particularly from conflict hit Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi.

Background

Earlier in January 2018, Tanzania had informed United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that it was suspending granting of citizenship to some Burundian refugees and that it will discourage new asylum applications. It has blamed international community for failing to release funds pledged to help Tanzania integrate refugees.

UN Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF)

New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants (also known as New York Declaration) calls upon UNHCR to develop and initiate the application of CRRF in particular situations, in close coordination with relevant States, other UN agencies and stakeholders.

The CRRF specifies key elements for a comprehensive response to any large movement of refugees. These include rapid and well-supported reception and admissions; assistance for local and national institutions and communities receiving refugees; support for immediate and on-going needs (e.g. protection, health, education) and expanded opportunities for solutions.

The CRRF provides lasting solutions for refugees, including integration into host communities. Its approach is based on the idea that refugees should be included in their host communities. According to framework, once refugees get access to education and right to work legally, they can develop their own skills and be more self-reliant, contributing to local economy.

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India, Myanmar sign MoU for Rakhine State’s development

India and Myanmar signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at developing Myanmar’s Rakhine state. It was signed by Foreign secretary S Jaishankar and Myanmar’s deputy minister for social welfare, relief and resettlement U Soe Aung.

Background

The MoU comes in backdrop of massive migration of Rohingya refugees from violence-wracked Rakhine to Bangladesh. Human rights monitors have accused Myanmar’s military of atrocities against Rohingyas. The minority Rohingya community does not enjoy citizenship in Myanmar. According to UN estimates, since August 2017 more than 6,00,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh after incidents of violence and oppression in Rakhine State. India has maintained that this issue should be handled in humane manner, development activities should be initiated in Rakhine State and conditions should be created for safe and secure return of refugees to their homes.

Key Facts

This MoU is first government to government (G2G) agreement signed by Myanmar with a cooperation partner focussed on socio-economic development and livelihood initiatives in Rakhine State. It is intended to help Myanmar to achieve its objective of restoration of normalcy in Rakhine State and enable return of displaced persons. Under this MoU, India has proposed to take up projects to build prefabricated housing in Rakhine State to meet immediate needs of returning people and also in Chittagong in Bangladesh.

Significance of Rakhine state

Rakhine is critical to strategic objectives of India in the region. Kaladan multimodal project, India’s dream connectivity project in region, originates from restive state. In addition, number of ongoing friendship projects also includes Sittwe port (capital of Rakhine province) and road from Paletwa–Zorinpui.

Other key projects that are being built by India are Rhi-Tiddim road project, India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) Trilateral Highway road from Kalewa to Yargyi, project to build 69 bridges on Tamu–Kyigone–Kalewa road, Yamethin Police Training Centre and hospital projects.

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