THE UK government’s decision to cut humanitarian aid response by 40 per cent has upset Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
The fund was reduced to £27.6million for the joint humanitarian sector response plan from £47.5million last year by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
“When Foreign Minister Dominic Raab cuts aid, the main target of these aid cuts will be Rohingya children. The future is disappearing for the children in the camps. With the growing population receiving virtually no education, in 10 years we will have a lost generation,” Tun Khin, president of the Burmese Rohingya Organization UK, said in a statement.
Kirsty McNeill, Executive Director of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns at Save The Children said that the cuts were not surprising after the government had already cut aid to Yemen and Syria, but were short-sighted.
“This decision will have devastating consequences for some of the world’s most desperate and vulnerable people. The UK takes a step back when it needs us, ”said McNeill.
At least 885,000 Rohingya are living in Bangladesh, most of them since 2017, when the Burmese military launched an operation against the minority group, which the UN has called genocidal.
In launching the response plan, UK Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Simon Manley acknowledged that no long-term solution to the Rohingya had been found and that the military coup in Myanmar had complicated the situation.
Burma Campaign UK has accused the government of failing to support the Rohingya.
In 2017, the UK government pledged £129million to the Rohingya response to the mass displacement. Since then it has cut the spending for the Rohingya response every year.
“Dominic Raab talks about the speech but it doesn’t work on Burma. He likes to make statements, whether it’s about justice or supporting protesters, but doesn’t follow through on action. This includes help. In their greatest need, Dominic Raab has decided to abandon the poorest populations of Burma, ”said Karin Valtersson, his campaigner.
FCDO said, “The UK has contributed over £321million to the Rohingya response and we remain a major donor to the response to the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh.”
The joint response plan has generally suffered from a decrease in donations. On Tuesday, it was announced that donors had pledged just 35 per cent of the $ 943 million needed by 2021 to support the Rohingya and nearly 500,000 people living near the camps with a range of basic services, including food, water and health care, as well as protection for women and the girls.