Executive Summary for October 26th

We review the latest refugee-related issues, including the pledging of $228 million for the Rohingya crisis, the U.N. denying Myanmar media reports that it is helping Muslim refugees and the Hungarian prime minister hailing a migrant-free central Europe.

Published on Oct. 26, 2017 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Donors Pledge $228 Million in New Funds for Rohingya Crisis

New funds of $228 million have been pledged to help in the Rohingya refugee crisis. The funds pledged at a conference on October 23 came after a United Nations appeal for $434 million.

Prior to Monday only $116 million had been committed to help relieve a crisis in which 600,000 people from the Muslim minority Rohingya have fled a military onslaught in Myanmar. The exodus has put acute strain on resources in Bangladesh, where a protracted refugee crisis is now expected.

The U.N. identified 35 pledges from donors including the European Union, the United States and a royal Saudi Arabian foundation. The largest single donor was the United Kingdom – Myanmar’s former colonial power – with commitments of more than $63 million. The European Commission with $42.5 million and the U.S. with $38 million are the next largest contributors.

The U.S. has faced criticism for not pledging any new funding. The State Department said it was “currently reviewing appeals for possible additional funding.” Canada, which also made no new pledges, said it would do so in the coming days.

Bangladesh, which expects by the end of the year to be hosting at least 800,000 refugees, was widely praised for keeping the border open. The head of the International Organization for Migration, Bill Swing, predicted that more than 1 million Rohingya would eventually cross into Bangladesh.

Myanmar Media Force U.N. to Deny Building Houses for Refugees

A U.N. agency has rejected Myanmar state media reports that it is building houses for Rohingya. The denial underscores tensions between the U.N. and the Myanmar regime.

The U.N.-Habitat agency denied reports that it was rehousing Muslim minority people in Rakhine state. Earlier this year the U.N. criticized the Myanmar government over plans to concentrate Rohingya displaced by the military in new, camp-style villages.

The regime-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper said the U.N. would “implement the projects to be favorable to Myanmar’s social culture and administrative system.”

Propaganda in Myanmar has drummed into the Buddhist majority that the Rohingya are an insurgent fifth column receiving favorable treatment by the international community. However, there is overwhelming evidence that the current crisis stems from a military campaign to uproot the Muslim minority that has been carried out with serious human rights abuses.

Stanislav Saling, a U.N. spokesman in Myanmar, said: “The U.N.-Habitat mission emphasized that resettlement should be conducted in accordance with the principles of housing and property restitution for refugees and displaced persons to support their safe and dignified return to their places of origin.”

Orban Hails Central European Migrant-Free Zone

Hungary’s prime minister has hailed a “migrant-free zone” in central Europe. Viktor Orban said Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic could stop globalization and mass migration.

Speaking on the 61st anniversary of the Hungarian Uprising, Orban hailed the so-called Visegrad Four countries for resisting an E.U.-wide scheme to relocate asylum seekers. He made no reference to the tens of thousands of Hungarian refugees created by the anti-Soviet uprising who were received by Western countries after 1956.

In what has become a regular refrain of attacks on multiculturalism, the Hungarian premier said Europe must “safe, fair, civic, Christian and free.”

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