President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday (Sept. 22) said the country welcomes Afghan and Rohingya refugees fleeing conflict-affected areas.
“The Philippines, in line with its longstanding humanitarian tradition, has opened its doors to Afghan nationals, especially women and children, fleeing from conflict,” he said in his speech during the United Nations General Assembly.
“As one global community, we must do our utmost to help the Afghan people and all those who continue to suffer,” he added.
Many Afghan nationals are fleeing Afghanistan after the Taliban took over the country following the pullout of the U.S. military presence there after 20 years.
The President also welcomed Rohingya refugees.
“For the Rohingyas, I have instructed our Department of Justice (DOJ) to work closely with the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees to prepare a cooperation program for a specific number of Rohingyas, consistent with our capacities,” he said.
“The Philippines has limited resources during these extraordinary times. But what we can do for humanity and to uplift human dignity, we will,” he added.
The Rohingya, who number about one million, are a stateless Muslim minority in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The country does not recognize them as citizens nor consider them among the country’s 135 ethnic groups. The group has suffered many displacement crises over the decades, the most recent in 2017.