Montreal, November 1, 2017 - Development and Peace - Caritas Canada is launching an emergency appeal to help Rohingya communities who have been forced to flee Myanmar and seek refuge in Bangladesh and is calling upon the generosity of all Canadians for support. The urgency with which refugees had to flee in the face of abuses by the army and the breadth of their displacement has exacerbated the vulnerability of thousands of children, women, and men who now have little to no access to basic necessities and services.
Since August 25th, when violence erupted between the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army and the Myanmar Army in northern Rakhine State, more than 600,000 people from the Muslim Rohingya minority have fled their country to take refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh, where they are living in conditions of extreme insalubrity and insecurity.
Development and Peace supported the emergency by providing assistance to the exhausted refugees who left their country with no more than the clothes on their back and allocated $50,000 to its partner Caritas Bangladesh as soon as the crisis arose. Through this initial commitment, Development and Peace has already helped close to 25,000 of the most vulnerable people in the district of Cox's Bazar with the distribution of food.
"The Rohingya population had to flee the atrocities as quickly as possible, leaving behind burnt villages, as well as their cattle and possessions. Humanitarian aid is essential in such an emergency context so that refugees may somehow survive," explains Stéphane Vinhas, Emergency Relief Program Officer for Development and Peace, who is currently in Bangladesh to assess the situation. He added that, "The Rohingya community is not only stateless, but one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. The United Nations describes the situation as 'ethnic cleansing' and it would seem important to support this population, which has been facing discrimination for a number of years."
Development and Peace is mobilizing its entire network and appealing to the generosity of the Canadian public to help the Rohingya refugees. The funds raised will be used to respond to health and water needs, as well as to provide shelter, food, and other essential items for Rohingya refugees in the district of Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. Thanks to the Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund established by the Government of Canada, the impact of your donation will be doubled until November 28th, 2017.
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For more information please contact:
Kelly Di Domenico, Communications Officer
514 257-8711 ext. 365
Sylvie Lamiot-Milliner, Director of Communications and Philanthropic Development
514 257-8710 ext. 361
Notes for editors:
>> Since January, Development and Peace has been supporting an access-to-education program for children displaced by violence, in partnership with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), in the dioceses of Myitkyina and Banmaw in Myanmar.
>> In 2013, Development and Peace – Caritas Canada acted alongside its partner Karuna Myanmar Social Services (KMSS), the social assistance service of the Catholic Church in Myanmar, to help displaced persons in the north of the country. Following the passage of Cyclone Nargis in 2008, the organization collected $2.4 million to support disaster victims and reinforce KMSS emergency response initiatives.