GENEVA, OCTOBER 23 ““Deeply concerned” about the situation of the Rohingya people, Italy pledged today in Geneva 7 million euros in humanitarian aid to finance the performance of emergency relief activities to assure food, healthcare and protection by the specialised United Nations Agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross both in Bangladesh and in Myanmar. “During the last few weeks, over half a million people, mostly women and children, had to leave Myanmar and find refuge in Bangladesh; Italy is in the forefront in humanitarian relief actions,” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano.
The United Nations and the European Union have called a ‘Pledging Conference on the Rohingya Refugee Crisis’ in Geneva today, to collect the necessary resources – over 430 million dollars – to face the extremely serious emergency crisis that began on 25 August with the attacks of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), which were followed by a very hard clampdown by Myanmar’s security forces.
The humanitarian activities will be supported by Italy’s diplomatic actions within the European Union and the United Nations Security Council, with the aim of assuring that Myanmar’s security forces perform their activities in respect of human rights, that civilians be protected, that the United Nations be given humanitarian access and that refugees be enabled to return to Myanmar as quickly as possible and in conditions guaranteeing their security and dignity.
In Geneva the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides announced the EU’s contribution of an additional €30 million for the Rohingya communities in Bangladesh. This comes on the top of over €21 million in overall EU assistance already allocated to Rohingya and host communities in both Bangladesh and Myanmar, bringing the total EU support for this year to over €51 million.
“Today, we stand united for the right cause. The cause of stateless people who have suffered for too long: the Rohingya. The Rohingya deserve nothing less than every other human being in the world. They deserve a future. We have a moral duty to give these people hope. Our humanitarian support will work to provide essentials like water, sanitation, food, healthcare, protection, and education”, said Commissioner Stylianides.
Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica said: “Beyond the immediate response, we need to think of long-term solutions for Rohingya and host populations alike. Whilst the focus should remain on creating an enabling environment for safe and dignified voluntary returns of Rohingya to Myanmar, we need to also ensure that local communities, who are already facing enormous challenges, are not left behind and that we provide them medium and long-term development assistance. Any solution has to inevitably include political dialogue with all parties involved.”
Commissioner Stylianides will travel to Bangladesh next week to meet with Rohingya refugees and visit EU aid projects in the affected areas.
The European Union is co-hosting the Pledging Conference on the Rohingya Refugee Crisis, with Kuwait, in Geneva on 23 October, in partnership with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
Of the €30 million announced at the pledging conference €5 million are allocated for emergency humanitarian aid to meet the most urgent needs of the Rohingya population and host communities in Bangladesh; another €5 million to support the registration of arriving Rohingya and a total of €20 million to support early recovery and development actions in the country.
According to latest estimates, around 600,000 Rohingya have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh during the past two months, since the exodus began on 25 August following the latest spate of violence. This brings the total number of Rohingya in the Cox’s Bazar area in Bangladesh to about 900,000. (@OnuItalia)
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