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UK support to the Rohingya crisis

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The UK recently announced new support to the Rohingya crisis – which forced more than 700,000 people to flee their homes in the face of violence in Myanmar.

In August and September 2017 more than half a million Rohingya people were forced out of their homes in Myanmar after a campaign of violence and persecution.

Many ended up in Cox’s Bazar in neighbouring Bangladesh, where there was already a large population of refugees who had fled previous rounds of ethnic violence.

The UK has been supporting the Rohingya since 2012 and this further £87 million package of support will help provide food, healthcare, water, sanitation, care and counselling for sexual violence survivors, and protection for vulnerable groups including women and girls.

International Development Secretary Alok Sharma said:

It is hard to truly grasp the size of the humanitarian crisis faced by the Rohingya people.

More than 700,000 were forced to flee their home in the face of horrific brutality.

The UK has worked with the government of Bangladesh to provide lifesaving aid, including food, water and shelter, as well as education and counselling as they rebuild their lives.

The Telegraph has reported on the new announcement in a photo gallery tracing the history of the Rohingya crisis through UK aid support. It highlights the UK’s response to the initial influx of refugees in Bangladesh and UK medics tackling diphtheria and support to women and girls.

The story also highlights the UK public’s generosity to the Rohingya, donating millions to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal which was then matched by the UK government.

There has been further coverage in Geographical Magazine which looks at the specific experiences of Rohingya women and girls, including how they have been supported by UK aid.

They interviewed Helen Ware of Concern Worldwide, who talked at length about the difficulties facing women, as well as how her work, supported by DFID funding, was improving lives.

The story includes details of how UK aid has provided lighting and padlocks for shelters, sanitation infrastructure and women and child-friendly spaces where women and girls can access a range of social, health, sexual and gender-based violence support.

International Development Minister Baroness Sugg is quoted in the piece saying:

Women often suffer the consequences of conflict and crisis the most and become targets for sexual violence. Thousands of Rohingya women fleeing Myanmar for safety reasons were raped and assaulted. Unfortunately they remain vulnerable to sexual violence in the refugee camps.

That is why new UK aid support will focus on protecting Rohingya women and girls so they can start to move beyond these atrocities. Not only will it increase security by making camps more well-lit at night and making housing, toilets and showers more secure, it will also support victims to report violence to authorities so crimes don’t go unnoticed and create more women-only safe spaces to provide healthcare and counselling.

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