Myanmar has world’s 9th ‘most neglected’ refugee crisis

Photo: Ingrid Prestetun / NRC.
Photo: Ingrid Prestetun / NRC.

Today the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) released a list of ‘The world’s most neglected displacement crises’ for 2016, and Myanmar was ranked No. 9, between Ukraine and Somalia.

The NRC placed Myanmar’s refugee crisis in the context of “minorities’ demands for equal rights, access to land and resources, and greater autonomy”, and also attributed it to tensions between Buddhists and stateless Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State.

“Over 1 million Rohingya in Myanmar do not have access to sufficient healthcare and education, their freedom of movement is limited, and around 120,000 remain in IDP camps,” the report says.

The NRC list measures the level of neglect for each refugee crisis using three criteria:

  1. Lack of political will among armed groups to protect civilians and end conflict, and among international actors to find political solutions.
  2. Lack of media attention, which is gauged by dividing the potential media reach for articles about the crisis by the number of people displaced.
  3. Lack of economic support, taken from the percentage of humanitarian appeals for each crisis that receive funding.

According to the UNHCR, 1,095,104 Myanmar people remained displaced by the end of 2016, including 400,000 in the southeast of the country and 100,000 in Thai refugee camps.

The NRC list points out that after 90,000 people were displaced in from their homes in Rakhine State at the end of 2016, the “UN’s desire to investigate possible human rights violations committed against the Muslim minority has repeatedly been rejected by the authorities.”

It also highlights the “forgotten conflict” in Kachin and Shan states, where violence escalated in 2016.

The NRC named the situation in the Central African Republic the ‘most neglected’ refugee crisis, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Nigeria, Yemen, and Palestine.

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