Japan, UN sign $3.7M assistance to Rohingya
Japanese aid to be used by UN Population Fund for reproductive health services, protection of women in Bhasan Char Island
Japan and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Tuesday signed a $3.7 million assistance to Rohingya refugees in remote Bhasan Char Island in the Bay of Bengal and host communities there.
The contribution will be used for improving access to sexual and reproductive health services, protecting the dignity and safety of women and girls from gender-based violence and empowering adolescents and youth, according to the Japan Embassy in Dhaka.
Bangladesh has shifted nearly 20,000 Rohingya – of the more than 1.2 million who took refuge in the country after fleeing a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar – to Bhasan Char since last December.
Earlier, the UN signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh last year for humanitarian and other essential services on the island.
International groups and the Rohingya themselves have repeatedly opposed the plan to shift refugees to the island, which is located some 50 kilometers (31 miles) off the country’s southwestern coast, completely cut off from the mainland and at high risk of natural disasters.
“While many women and girls are suffering from reproductive health problems and gender-based violence due to the protracted Rohingya crisis, assistance to those areas has been relatively scarce,” said ITO Naoki, Ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh.
“As the Rohingya crisis has turned into the sixth year, it is imperative to continue funding for better and dignified lives of refugees, while making every effort for the early repatriation to Myanmar.”
Since the beginning of the emergency in August 2017, Japan has been a steadfast supporter of the Rohingya refugee response in Bangladesh, contributing over $175 million to UNFPA and other UN agencies and NGOs in Bangladesh, including through this new funding.