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2024 Rohingya Joint Response Plan: UK statement

March 13th, 2024  •  Author:   United Kingdom (Foreign , Commonwealth & Development Office)  •  3 minute read
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On 13 March the UK announced a further £5.2 million to support Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, at the launch of the 2024 Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis in Geneva.

UK statement delivered at the launch of the 2024 Joint Response Plan, hosted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and the Government of Bangladesh.

High Commissioner Grandi, Director General Pope, Foreign Secretary and Principal Secretary, and colleagues.

I would like to begin by recognising the significant efforts of the Government of Bangladesh in hosting almost one million Rohingya refugees for over six years. I would also like to thank our humanitarian partners, their staff and the volunteers on the ground, for continuing to deliver such a comprehensive response.

The UK remains deeply concerned by the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh and the worsening situation in Myanmar, including for the Rohingya in Rakhine state. Their suffering has only been compounded by the escalation of the conflict. We will continue to use our role as UN Security Council penholder to seek to address the worsening situation in Myanmar and to push for a long-term solution to the Rohingya’s suffering.

Until the conditions in Myanmar allow for the refugees to return in a voluntary, safe and dignified manner, the UK remains committed to supporting the Rohingya in Bangladesh, as emphasised in our pledge at the Global Refugee Forum in December.

I am therefore pleased to announce today that the UK is providing a further £5.2 million of humanitarian assistance, including food and cooking gas, to the Rohingya in Cox’s Bazar. This brings the UK’s support to the Rohingya and neighbouring communities in Bangladesh to £379 million since 2017. The UK has also provided over £30 million for Rohingya and other Muslim communities in Rakhine State in this period, and we commit to providing further assistance in 2024.

We welcome this year’s Joint Response Plan. The response in Bangladesh continues to provide vital assistance and we welcome the positive progress, including the completion of the Myanmar curriculum rollout, and an increase in skills development opportunities.

However, we are deeply troubled by the overall deterioration in conditions for the refugees last year. As we have heard today, protection incidents and insecurity rose significantly; two ration cuts pushed malnutrition to emergency levels, the highest since 2017; and the number of Rohingya undertaking dangerous journeys at sea rose by 22%.

We all know that globally the gap between humanitarian needs and funding continues to grow. It is therefore essential that the response continues to work in the most effective and efficient way possible to meet the needs of those affected.

We recognise the challenges that the Government of Bangladesh faces in managing this situation. The UK will continue to work supportively and collaboratively with your government, Foreign Secretary and Principal Secretary, taking into account your concerns about the impact of the refugee presence, in order to find a sustainable way forward. This involves:

  • continuing to support the Rohingya and affected Bangladeshi communities;
  • addressing the worsening protection and security challenges in the camps;
  • providing safe shelters that protect the Rohingya against cyclones and fires; and,
  • offering the Rohingya more self-reliance, and less dependence on humanitarian aid.

Let me end by reiterating the UK’s commitment to the Rohingya, and the communities that host them, and to working with you all to resolve the underlying causes of this tragic crisis.

Thank you.

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