World Refugee Day 2019 Statement

June 20, 2019

HURFOM: On this World Refugee Day, the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) is proud to announce the release of a new joint-report entitled “There Is No One Who Does Not Miss Home: A Report on Protracted Displacement Due to Armed Conflict in Burma/Myanmar.” Based on the work of 15 civil society organizations (CSOs) including HURFOM, the report documents the needs, concerns, and perspectives of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees long forced from their homes due to decades of armed conflict, oppression, and persecution.

In a grim summation of the report’s findings, Naw Blooming Night Zan of the Karen Refugee Committee shared these words:

While aid for our country is increasing and there is this supposed increase in economic opportunities, we are instead witnessing some of the worst conditions for displaced ethnic communities we have observed in decades. Refugees are getting starved out of camps, while IDPs are risking their lives to seek livelihoods in areas riddled with landmines, face getting trafficked to feed their families, and ethnic people are dying as a result.

Echoing the report’s recommendations, HURFOM’s Program Director Nai Awe Mon had the following to say about how best to resolve the protracted displacement of the Karen, Karenni, Mon, Ta’ang, Pa-Oh, Kachin and Shan communities featured in the report:

All arrangements for repatriation and resettlement, and all other aspects of decision making that directly affect IDPs and refugees, must be done in consultation with these communities. These people must also be recognized as equal citizens once they return, otherwise there will be no durable solutions for them.

The peace process and national reconciliation must include those who are victims of past human rights violations, and donors must work to ensure that their support and assistance addresses the root causes of displacement such as armed conflict, foreign direct investment, and large-scale development projects. If they can do this, land, housing, and property rights will be protected.

I would also like to urge concerned governments, the donor community, international organizations, and other stakeholders that provide humanitarian aid and cross-border assistance to work with local ethnic CSOs who are implementing the work that the Myanmar government fails to do until we see safe, dignified, and voluntary returns for IDPs and refugees.”

Today, HURFOM stands shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with all refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced people across the globe, and acknowledges the strength, courage, and perseverance required of these men, women, and children to seek a better tomorrow.

As the report notes, refugees and IDPs have hopes and dreams, they yearn for home, and want to contribute to making their communities and their country a better place. Now more than ever, decision makers must find the compassion, understanding, and political will needed to create conditions that provide for safe, dignified, sustainable, and voluntary return so these desires may one day become a reality.

The report is available in both English and Burmese.

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