(COX’S BAZAR, December 2023)—On December 2, 2023, the BBC featured Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh in a documentary entitled “Let Down by the U.N.” In the 23-minute film, a Rohingya woman human rights defender and others share experiences of being attacked and threatened by Rohingya militants in refugee camps in Bangladesh, and they expose, in significant detail, failures of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to facilitate protection. 

In response to the film, UNHCR issued a statement on December 2, 2023. In its statement, UNHCR said, “We are taking steps to review our protection response and find ways, together with partners, to better address existing gaps with the resources currently available.” UNHCR clarified that it has “19 protection Focal Point staff to cover 33 camps hosting 930,000 refugees in Cox’s Bazar.” Focal Point staff are mandated to receive communications from Rohingya regarding security concerns. Employing 19 individuals to each attend to the security of approximately 49,000 refugees creates an impossible task for Focal Points and UNHCR. UNHCR further claims: 

The protection and other needs [in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh] are immense and continue to increase while our resources keep declining. … We note with concern and deplore the alleged inappropriate comments about Rohingyas and the late Mohib Ullah which have been attributed to some members of our personnel. They are unacceptable and in no way reflect our values and principles. We encourage anyone with relevant information to contact our senior management and/or the Inspector General’s Office to report any type of misconduct so appropriate action can be taken.

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