Swiss president visits refugee camp

On Tuesday, President Berset as part of a four day visit to Bangladesh, visited the Kutupalong refugee camp where Switzerland is providing humanitarian aid.  Earlier, he announced an additional CHF12 million to tackle the Rohingya crisis. (SRF,

Alain Berset, who holds the rotating Swiss presidency this year, says Switzerland supports the full implementation of the recommendations made by an advisory commission headed by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on resolving the Rohingya crisis.

Berset made this statement on Tuesday while visiting refugee camps in Bangladesh to talk to Rohingya Muslim refugees who had fled violence in Myanmar.

The Annan-led commission submitted a report to Myanmar authorities in August, urging action to prevent violence, maintain peace and foster reconciliation in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, from where the Rohingya have fled.

More than 680,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh to escape a crackdown by Myanmar’s military that began following attacks by a Rohingya militant group on August 25.

On Monday, he announced that Switzerland would be increasing its financial commitment to help Bangladesh manage the Rohingya crisis from CHF8 million ($8.58 million) to CHF20 million, after a meeting with Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka.

This additional aid specifically targets the Rohingya Muslim community, several hundred thousand of whom are living in camps in Bangladesh after being persecuted in neighbouring Myanmar. According to the Associated Press, Berset said the return of Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence in Myanmar must be voluntary. 

Bangladesh is a priority aid country for Switzerland receiving around CHF35-40 million in development aid every year. 

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