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Penny Mordaunt: Extra UK aid gives a future to persecuted Rohingya

Ms Mordaunt pledged that the UK will continue to stand by the Rohingya people and Bangladesh, now and in the future.

On a visit to Cox’s Bazar, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has announced further UK aid for the Rohingya crisis, as she warns that global funding will start to dry up in 100 days.

Ms Mordaunt pledged that the UK will continue to stand by the Rohingya people and Bangladesh, now and in the future. She met some of the 620,000 innocent men, women and children who have been tragically driven from their homes in Burma and forced to make the treacherous journey to Bangladesh, relying on aid to survive.

Today’s announcement of £12 million for the Rohingya crisis is providing urgently needed food now and ensuring more lives are not put at risk when international funding starts to run out in February 2018. This brings the UK’s total support to £59 million since 25 August 2017.

She praised the Government of Bangladesh and the local communities for their continued generosity in helping the Rohingya people and also urged other countries to follow the UK’s lead by promising longer-term support to avert disaster.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:

“The persistent persecution of the Rohingya people must stop. It is horrifying that hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children have had their homes burnt to the ground, and parents have been forced to helplessly watch as their children die from hunger.

“This looks like ethnic cleansing. The Burmese military must end this inhumane violence and guarantee unrestricted humanitarian access so aid can reach those in need in Burma. Any return of families to their homes must be safe, voluntary and dignified.

“Global funding to support the Rohingya people will only meet urgent needs for the next 100 days – we cannot turn our backs on those trapped in crisis.

“Other countries must follow our lead and do even more to help children overcome the trauma of war, reunite them with their families and give a future to the next generation.”

To mark the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women and the 16 days of activism, the International Development Secretary is shining a spotlight on the horrifying prevalence of sexual and gender based violence that Rohingya women and girls have suffered.

During her visit to Bangladesh, Ms Mordaunt heard harrowing stories of brutal abuse and met UK experts delivering life-saving treatment including medical, counselling and psychosocial support to female survivors.

She pledged to help increase protection for Rohingya women and girls against sexual violence and exploitation and announced a separate package of UK aid support (£12 million for multiple countries) that is expected to help around 750,000 women and girls globally over the next three years. Bangladesh could stand to benefit from this.

This will increase access to services such as legal assistance, healthcare for survivors of sexual and gender based violence and help protect women and girls by tackling the root causes of these crimes.

Ms Mordaunt said:

“The countless stories of sexual violence I have heard from Rohingya women and girls are truly shocking and the high rates of this crime across the world are a global scandal.

“The UK is absolutely determined to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls and we are increasing protection for Rohingya women and girls against sexual violence and exploitation.

“We are stepping up our leadership – working closely with women leaders and grassroots charities – to help more survivors in some of the world’s poorest countries overcome the traumas of violence.”

UK aid is helping to provide:

  • Emergency food to 174,000 people
  • Lifesaving nutritional support to more than 60,000 children under-five and over 21,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • Safe drinking water, emergency latrines and hygiene kits for more than 138,000 people
  • Essential items including soap, cooking utensils and water cans for over 131,000 people
  • Emergency shelter for over 130,000 people and support to make shelters more resilient to rain and heavy winds for 450,000 people as the cyclone season approaches
  • Access to female bathing cubicles and sanitary items for more than 35,000 girls and women
  • Counselling and psychological support for over 10,000 women suffering from the trauma of war and over 2,000 survivors of sexual violence
  • Medical help for over 50,000 pregnant women to give birth safely.

UK leadership also helped to secure another $300 million of international support at the landmark Geneva pledging conference on 23 October 2017. This reaches over half of the total funding required to meet urgent humanitarian needs as set out in the UN appeal. However, the UN appeal only covers the months up to February 2018, and more international pledges are required to meet ongoing desperate need.

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