Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I write today to urge you to take immediate action to aid the Rohingya refugees in their desperate plight.
Unifor, through the union’s Social Justice Fund, has donated a total of $100,000 to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide front-line aid to Rohingya refugees.
This is a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. Since August, more than 500,000 Rohingya children, women and men have fled Myanmar to escape rising violence. The Rohingya have long faced discrimination and persecution within Myanmar, but the escalation of conflict and allegations of ethnic cleansing have triggered a massive refugee crisis.
Every day thousands more Rohingya arrive in Bangladesh, they arrive exhausted, hungry, and sick, only to face terrible, challenging, living conditions. They are in need of life-saving assistance, including emergency shelter, clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, essential food items and emergency supplies. They are in need of a show of humanity.
Unifor’s $50,000 donation to the UN Refugee Agency will provide shelters to women, children and the elderly who have trekked for weeks in the jungle, reunify separated children with their parents, and provide the refugees with much-needed food and supplies.
There are also serious concerns about the risk of potential outbreaks of cholera, measles and respiratory illnesses in the makeshift settlements. The union’s $50,000 donation to Doctors Without Borders will help scale up the response to prevent a public health disaster.
When inundated with images of strife and conflict, of atrocities and suffering, it is too easy to close our eyes to humanitarian disaster. Instead of pulling away, we are choosing to make a conscious decision to turn our eyes to the conflict and to the situation of the people who are living through it.
Unifor’s decision to send support for life-saving assistance to the Rohingya people, whose very lives hang by the thinnest thread, speaks to our determination to embrace our shared humanity and to put solidarity into action. We challenge others to do the same.
For more information on the Social Justice Fund visit unifor.org/sjf.