President of the Swiss Confederation visits Rohingya camp in Cox’s Bazar

Press release, 06.02.2018

The President of the Swiss Confederation H.E. Mr. Alain Berset, who is currently in Bangladesh on an official visit, travelled to Cox’s Bazar on 06 February 2018 to gain a first-hand insight into the ongoing humanitarian refugee crisis. He visited the Kutupalong Rohingya camp where he met with Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar in recent months. He also visited the Cox’s Bazar Sadar hospital which received Swiss contributions.

During his visit to the Kutupalong camp, Mr. Berset told local media that a refugee crisis of this scale had put Bangladesh and the international community under enormous pressure to provide shelter and the most urgent services to more than 650’000 people. He added that in order to respond to this crisis Switzerland is working closely with Bangladesh, UN agencies and other development partners.

Mr. Berset extended his appreciation for the enormous efforts being undertaken by the Government of Bangladesh to welcome and host the communities from Myanmar. Placing emphasis on the voluntary, safe and dignified return of the people to their places of origin, he expressed his concern about the outlook for the younger generation and the situation of the women and children who need increased protection. He also said Switzerland calls for the full implementation of the report of the Advisory Commission chaired by Kofi Annan.

Earlier, the Swiss President went to the Cox’s Bazar Sadar District Hospital to officially handover the Swiss contributions, including hospital beds and medical equipment support, to the hospital management. He highlighted the important role played by the doctors and the staff of this hospital in providing much needed medical treatment to patients from the host community as well as the Rohingya arrivals.

Switzerland welcomes the progress made between the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh in working towards a lasting solution of the refugee crisis and underlines the need for any return of Rohingyas to Myanmar to be voluntary, safe and dignified. The Swiss Humanitarian Aid has channelled 8 million Swiss Francs/ US$ 8.5 million in 2017 in emergency humanitarian assistance for the Rohingya arrivals. Switzerland will remain engaged in the humanitarian efforts also in 2018 with an additional support of US$12 million. Support measures will benefit also the host community in the Cox’s Bazar area, which have been affected by the refugee crisis.