Jewish humanitarian agencies create united Rohingya response
World Jewish Relief, IsraAid, the JDC and the Jewish Coalition for Disaster Response (JCDR) have joined forces to create a united global Jewish response to the Rohingya humanitarian crisis. This is the first time that the leading global Jewish international humanitarian agencies have created a collective response.
The rapid exodus of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar into Bangladesh has resulted in a critical humanitarian crisis. Nearly 860,000 refugees are now living in official or makeshift refugee camps across Cox’s Bazaar in southern Bangladesh.
Paul Anticoni, Chief Executive of World Jewish Relief, said: “The refugees are facing desperate conditions and are entirely dependent on humanitarian support with many having fled their homes with no possessions, traumatised by targeted persecution and violence. Sanitation and healthcare is appalling and the threat of outbreaks of infectious disease looms. Despite recent political assurances that they can start returning home, this is not going to happen anytime soon, if at all.
“We have monitored the situation carefully, appalled at another incident of ethnic cleansing and mass refugee movement. This is the right time and the right place for a globally co-ordinated Jewish response.”
Together, we will provide essential non-food items to the most vulnerable refugee families, primarily women and girls, breastfeeding or pregnant mothers and child-led households. We will distribute emergency packages; containing hygiene and sanitary products, blankets, essential clothing and mosquito nets. We also aim to provide mobile primary healthcare to parts of the camps that are not currently being accessed by existing services. We will work where others are not and ensure all we deliver goes to those in greatest need.
The response has been backed by the UK Jewish community:
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis:
“The inexcusable suffering of the Rohingya is a stain on the conscience of humanity and represents a failure to act upon our commitment to protect the most vulnerable people in our world. With so many people now living now in dire makeshift accommodation in Bangladesh, having fled violence and persecution in Myanmar, I urge every person who is able, to support the efforts of World Jewish Relief and others and to ease the suffering of the Rohingya.”
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism:
“Our hearts go out to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya families who have fled terror and persecution and are now stateless, homeless, destitute and desperately in need of our help”.
Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism:
“The Jewish community knows from our history what it is like to flee persecution. Refugees from Myanmar are suffering brutal crimes, often targeting women and children. I urge our community to support this unprecedented joint global Jewish effort to bring some solace to those suffering from the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis.”
Rabbi Danny Rich, Senior Rabbi & Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism:
“The Rohingya humanitarian crisis brings back chilling memories of what has happened to the Jewish people at many points in our history, which makes it even more vital that we do all we can to help them.
“We can often feel powerless when we see a tragedy unfold many miles from home, which is why Liberal Judaism welcomes this effort from World Jewish Relief so that our members, and those from across the entire Jewish community, can donate to help some of the world’s most vulnerable and persecuted people.”
We are seeking support from across the community for this intervention.