The World Council of Churches (WCC) expresses its concern about the situation of the Rohingya people and the circumstances in Rakhine state that have forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes and country. According to UN and reputable media reports, some 379,000 Rohingya people have sought refuge in Bangladesh since 25 August, fleeing violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state.
As churches, we recognize and affirm the God-given human dignity of every human being, and are especially committed to lifting up the voices of the voiceless and most vulnerable. The Rohingya are widely considered to be among the world's most persecuted and vulnerable people. Among other things, they constitute one of the largest populations of stateless people, not recognized as nationals by any country. UNHCR estimates that more than one million people in Myanmar’s Rakhine state are stateless on the basis of the current citizenship law, which provides that only members of certain ethnic groups are eligible for citizenship. Rohingyas are excluded from this categorization.
We are particularly concerned about the humanitarian situation of the affected people in Rakhine state and of those who have fled as refugees to Bangladesh. We call for an end to the violence and destruction that have caused this displacement, so that people can stay safely in their own homes and communities without fear of reprisals and persecution based on their ethnic or religious identity. And we appeal for all the refugees to be received and cared for appropriately. We recognize and appreciate the refuge already afforded to the displaced people by the government and communities of Bangladesh, and call for the international community to provide all needed support, until the refugees are able to return to their homes and communities in conditions of safety and dignity.
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
World Council of Churches