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EU steps up support to address Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh

The European Union has adopted a new €5 million programme to support the Rohingyas in Bangladesh, strengthening its response to the crisis and to support the implementation of the bilateral repatriation agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar.

The new initiative aims at supporting the identification and registration of Rohingyas in Bangladesh, facilitating the provision of humanitarian support, as well as ensuring the better protection of particularly vulnerable individuals.

It complements the EU’s significant emergency humanitarian aid mobilised to meet the most urgent needs of the Rohingya population and host communities in Bangladesh and Myanmar, which in 2017 totaled over €51 million, as well as support to early recovery and development actions in both countries.

The EU said the initiative is a demonstration of its commitment to support the creation of all necessary conditions for the eventual voluntary, safe and dignified return of Rohingyas who have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh to their place of origin.

This programme will build on ongoing identification and registration efforts, including biometric registration by the Bangladeshi government, said the EU Embassy in Dhaka.

In view of the high levels of vulnerability among the refugees, where there are high numbers of women-led households, many of whom have suffered various forms of violence and deep psychological harm, individual protection and special assistance is essential to ensure appropriate, targeted humanitarian support.

During her visit to the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar on November 19 last, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice–President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, reiterated the European Union’s support to the Bangladeshi authorities for receiving those who have fled Northern Rakhine State.

She also underlined the EUs commitment to provide humanitarian support to the refugees and stressed that “the European Union will continue to lead the work of the donor community because we believe that human dignity and peoples’ lives must always be protected.”

This announcement is the latest in a significant number of EU-led actions in response to the crisis, notably the EU co-hosted donors’ conference, which took place in Geneva in October last.

At the conference, the European Union pledged the leading amount of new funding, and together the EU and its Member States pledged almost half of the overall amount.

This measure is funded by the EU’s Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), and will be implemented by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).