Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 17 September 2019

UAE launches major campaign to assist Rohingya refugees

The nationwide drive aims to help hundreds of thousands in need of education, food, health services, sanitation and shelter

Rohingya children at a refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, March 7, 2019. REUTERS / Mohammad Ponir Hossain
Rohingya children at a refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, March 7, 2019. REUTERS / Mohammad Ponir Hossain

The UAE has launched a major campaign to help support hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees forced to flee Myanmar.

The nationwide drive aims to assist those from the minority Muslim group who now find themselves in camps in India, Bangladesh and elsewhere.

Under the initiative, organisers hope to provide education, food, health services, sanitation and shelter for some of the more than 1.2 million people.

The figure includes an estimated 720,000 children, 240,000 women, and 48,000 elderly.

Announcing the campaign on Thursday, Dr Mohammed Ateeq Al Falahi, Secretary-General of the Emirates Red Crescent, highlighted the escalating predicament faced by many of the Rohingya.

"The UAE has always been proactive in its solidarity with Rohingya refugees, especially children and women, and has worked from the very first moment to support them," he said.

"There is no doubt that the consequences of the Rohingya crisis have caused a difficult reality for refugees.

“We are now in a new phase of the UAE's humanitarian response to them. This is a continuation of the previous stages and in keeping with the challenges posed by the worsening refugee situation and the escalating crisis.”

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled Myanmar in 2017 in the midst of a brutal campaign of violence described by the UN as ethnic cleansing and possible genocide.

Many were from Rakhine state in the west of the country, where a military-led crackdown which claimed to be targeting militants resulted in villages razed and thousands killed.

The government of Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist country, has refused to give the Rohingya citizenship, claiming they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

"The UAE has provided considerable assistance with the onset of the crisis, especially in Bangladesh, India and some other countries,” said Fahad Abdulrahman bin Sultan, ERC Deputy Secretary-General for Development and International Cooperation.

"As a result of the reports we received from the UAE relief teams, the focus [of the new campaign] will be on women and children, especially educating the children who have been in the camps for several years without access to education.

“Women will also be assisted in education, health, shelter and food.”

Updated: May 23, 2019 09:25 PM

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