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UK seeks long-term solution to Rohingya crisis

UK Minister for the Indo-Pacific Anne-Marie Trevelyan speaks at a UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) regional conference in Bangkok on the Rohingya crisis on Tuesday

The UK Minister for the Indo-Pacific, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, on Tuesday announced further UK funding of £4.5 million to provide vital humanitarian services to Rohingya refugees and host communities in Bangladesh.

She made the announcement at a UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) regional conference in Bangkok on the Rohingya crisis.

The UK minister is attending the conference alongside Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

Trevelyan said that the UK is committed to finding a long-term solution to the Rohingya crisis. This includes their safe, voluntary and dignified return to Myanmar, when the conditions there allow it, she said.

“Until the Rohingyas can safely return to their homeland, we are committed to providing ongoing humanitarian support. That is why we are announcing £4.5 million of further UK support for protection services, healthcare and clean energy to the refugees in Bangladesh,” she said.

“Today’s conference is an important opportunity to discuss sustainable solutions in Myanmar, and support for the Rohingya and their host countries,” the UK minister added.

The £4.5 million funding includes –

£2.1 million through the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for healthcare and clean energy for the Rohingya refugees and host communities.

£2 million through NGOs for the protection of refugees and host communities. The NGOs include the Norwegian Refugee Council, Danish Refugee Council, International Rescue Committee, and Humanity and Inclusion.

£450,000 through the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) to prevent and respond to gender-based violence and provide sexual and reproductive health services.

Since 2017, the UK has provided £370 million to support Rohingya refugees and host communities in Bangladesh, and nearly £30 million to support Rohingya and other Muslim minorities in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

This has included food, water and sanitation, healthcare and protection services that are vital for women and girls in the camps.

The UK has also said it supports “peace and stability” across the Indo-Pacific and continues to stand with the people of Myanmar, according to a statement from the British High Commission in Dhaka.

“We reiterate our call for an end to all violence and for the protection of civilians and safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all those in need,” the UK minister was quoted as saying.

The UK’s sustained support for the Rohingyas demonstrates its long-term commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, critical to the prime minister’s priority of growing the economy, in line with the Integrated Review Refresh published in March 2023, said the British government.

Meanwhile, the United Nations refugee agency on Tuesday urged the international community to keep focus on the plight of the Rohingya refugees amid a funding crunch and the lack of long-term solution for their safe return to Myanmar.

The UN has managed to secure only 42% of the $875.9 million needed for the Rohingyas this year which makes short term support for the refugee population in the camps difficult, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told Reuters in an interview.

“This decline in humanitarian assistance makes it more difficult to continuously, for example, renew the shelters,” Grandi said.

“You have to invest money all the time and that money is becoming short, so conditions are now beginning to regress,” he said.

Grandi was in Bangkok on Tuesday to host a meeting with high level officials in the region on the Rohingya issue, seeking pledges and support from governments and the private sector ahead of the Global Refugee Forum in December.