Interview with John Ging, Director of Operations for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Source: Interview with John Ging (Director of Operations for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.) By Talal AlHaj in Al Arabiya

The Rohingya people need political stability, government accountability for its actions, and financial aid aside humanitarian relief, according to John Ging, Director of Operations for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. (Al Arabiya)The UN has also accused the Myanmar government of playing a major role in Rohingya mistreatment, and called for better accountability in the justice system to stop abuse by military and police.

“They have to get the security forces under control. And they have to hold accountable people in transparent due process of the rule of law for any acts taken already – that is where people should direct their grievances, to the courts,” Ging said.

Over 70,000 Rohingya people have been displaced in Myanmar after a recent spate of violence. Fresh from visiting the minority Muslim community in the Southeast Asian country, John Ging, Director of Operations for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told Al Arabiya about their plight and what needs to be done to alleviate their suffering.

“Many have lost their lives, many have been injured, and tens of thousands have had to flee their homes [which have been destroyed],” Ging said in an interview after his four-day visit to Myanmar, which focused on western Rakhine State, where the Muslim community lives in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar.

“The conditions that they are living in are appalling; they need shelter, water, food. And the host communities who are hosting these people also need help, because they too are struggling because now freedom of movement is restricted for the communities as well – many people are cut off from their livelihoods,” he said.

The UN has described the Rohingya as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. They have been denied citizenship in Myanmar, even though many of their families have lived in the country for generations. They also required permission from the Myanmar government to marry, have more than two children, and travel outside their villages.

Resentment between Rohingya and Rakhine Buddhists erupted into fighting in June, and there are concerns there could be even more widespread violence. Ging said the situation in Rakhine State was deteriorating right when people required urgent help to rebuild their lives.

“They [Rohingya] have been stateless without rights for decades,”Ging said. “What I witnessed when I was there speaking to the Muslim community leaders, Rakhine community leaders, and political leaders – everybody is hugely concerned and aware of the fragility of the situation and they are all working very hard to prevent this from exploding into a huge conflict. That means that action has to be taking very quickly.”

The UN has also accused the Myanmar government of playing a major role in Rohingya mistreatment, and called for better accountability in the justice system to stop abuse by military and police.

“They have to get the security forces under control. And they have to hold accountable people in transparent due process of the rule of law for any acts taken already – that is where people should direct their grievances, to the courts,” Ging said.

Humanitarian agencies such as the World Food Program, UNICEF, UNHCR and the World Health Organization have provided shelter, food, medical supplies and tents, but Ging said more funding was needed.

“We have just issued an appeal for $32.5 million, and again, we need to mobilize that money very quickly,” Ging said.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference has also requested Muslim countries to donate, and Saudi Arabia has already pledged $50 million. However, neighboring Bangladesh has ordered three international aid agencies to stop providing aid to the Rohingya who have fled there. While Myanmar considers the Rohingya to be illegal migrants from Bangladesh, the neighbor also rejects them.

Ging, however, said that he doesn’t think the international community is paying enough attention to the crisis.

“If the situation is not stabilized quickly then I am sorry but I can only say that we are going to see more conflict, we are going to see more displacement and more human misery.”

 

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One Response to “Interview with John Ging, Director of Operations for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs”

  1. abacch03 Says:

    Eid Mubarak!

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