Less than half the $1bn in aid meant for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh this year has been raised and the lack of money has made it difficult for them to provide the food, basic healthcare and other support the Rohingya need, the UN refugee agency or UNHCR said on Thursday as it announced plans for a large donor conference next week.
The online event will take place on October 22 in an effort to close a “significant funding gap”, the UNHCR said.
“Solidarity with the Rohingya people means more than just meeting their basic needs,” Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for Refugees, said in a statement.
“Refugees, like everyone else, have a right to a life of dignity and the chance to build a safe and stable future.”
In 2017, a brutal crackdown by the military forced some 750,000 Rohingya to flee across the border into Bangladesh in violence that is now the subject of genocide charges against Myanmar at the UN’s top court at The Hague.
They joined an earlier wave of Rohingya who had fled earlier violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state and were already living in camps close to the border. With the latest displacement, there are now an estimated 860,000 Rohingya in camps in Cox’s Bazar, said to be the world’s largest refugee settlement.
As many as 150,000 Rohingya also live in other countries in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia and Indonesia, while an estimated 600,000 Rohingya continue to live inside Myanmar, including in camps set up by the government in Rakhine State.
Myanmar does not recognise the mostly Muslim Rohingya as citizens, even though the minority group has lived in the country for generations. UNHCR said that the funds raised at next week’s event are expected to support “critical services” in communities that host the Rohingya.