Dhaka to allocate special funds for Rohingya rehabilitation

Wednesday 13th June 2018 06:13 EDT

Dhaka: Bangladesh Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said the government would allocate a special fund for Rohingya rehabilitation in the upcoming 2018-19 fiscal year budget. "We planned to allocate around Tk400 crore as special funds for Rohingya rehabilitation," Dhaka Tribune quoted Muhith as saying. The allocation will be provided mainly for building shelters for Rohingya rehabilitation.

Specific allocations to ensure health care, sanitation, and food supply would also be given to the concerned ministries, Muhith further said. The proposed budget will be announced in Parliament soon. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved Tk2,312 crore for the Rohingya rehabilitation project to rehabilitate around 1 million Rohingya temporarily.

A project named "Ashrayon 3" is being implemented at Bhasanchar, within the next year, where around 100,000 Rohingya will be rehabilitated initially. Rohingyas are a Muslim minority ethnic group in Myanmar, who are considered as illegal immigrants as opposed to citizens of the country. Due to a surge in violence in western Myanmar last year, over 700,000 Rohingyas fled the country to escape the military's action. Presently, they are languishing in Bangladeshi refugee camps.

Fresh pressure on Myanmar over Rohingyas

Myanmar has been under mounting international pressure as it remains 'very slow' in creating conditions for the safe return of Rohingyas from Bangladesh. According to the Dhaka Tribune, a diplomat has said that depending only on bilateral mechanisms to resolve the Rohingya has not produced any result. On June 6, UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, and UNDP, the UN Development Programme, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Myanmar government in Nay Pyi Taw.

The MoU aims at creating conducive conditions for the repatriation of refugees and for creating improved livelihoods for all communities living in Rakhine State. Human Rights Watch has asked the UNSC to immediately refer the situation in Myanmar to the ICC.

During the first week of May, senior diplomats from the 15-member UNSC visited refugee camps in Bangladesh to see the situation of the more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar military abuses since August 2017.

Last month, the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Operations (ECHO) had provided $2.6 million to United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to ensure that both the Rohingya refugees and local Bangladeshis who live alongside them, can live in a safe and protective environment free from gender-based violence (GBV).

More than 700,000 Rohingya refugees are languishing in Bangladeshi refugee camps after fleeing a brutal Myanmar army campaign launched in August last year. The United Nations had said the scorched-earth operation, which had left hundreds of villages burned to ash in Myanmar's Rakhine state, amounted to 'ethnic cleansing'.

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