Rohingya crisis: funding shortfall leaves displaced people with no long-range protection plan, warns Christian Aid
One year on from the Rohingya pledging conference at the UN, new analysis from Christian Aid reveals that less than half of funding requirements have been met, and that the humanitarian response is still not driven by a long-term plan for the protection of all those displaced by the conflict.
To coincide with a new Christian Aid report, Honour the Promises: One year on from the Rohingya pledging conference, Jane Backhurst, Senior Adviser to Christian Aid, said: “A comprehensive, long-range plan is not yet in sight. With a funding gap of more than 50% for this crisis, humanitarian needs must be addressed better.
"It’s time to honour the promises. Last year we called for a long-range plan for the protection of all those displaced, as well as improved humanitarian access, with local NGOs and populations driving the provision of humanitarian assistance, and a collective approach to tackle impunity. Without this, the future holds little promise for the Rohingya.”
Some $434 million of funding was required in October 2017, and additional funding requirements doubled within three months of last year’s pledging conference to over $950 million. Less than 50% of the total funding requirements for the humanitarian response in 2018 have been met. This has a direct impact on the affected communities, leaving thousands without adequate shelter, healthcare, and other essential services.
Shahana Hayat, the Humanitarian Programme Manager at Christian Aid Bangladesh, said: “Life-saving support is still critical, but support for livelihoods needs to run alongside this. However, it’s also about how aid is provided – we have to ensure that we strengthen direct support for local organisations, who have been and will continue to provide unique access to those most in need.”
Christian Aid welcomed the 36 pledges made at the Rohingya pledging conference on 23 October 2017 as a “good start”. These included an additional £12 million pledged by the UK, and €30 million pledged by the EU, to meet the $328 million gap in funding requirements that had been identified previously by the UN.
However, the charity noted at the time that additional funding would be needed following further assessments of the needs of those displaced, and also to ensure full implementation of the World Humanitarian Summit commitments in the Rohingya response.
Christian Aid called for the initial pledges to be transformed into a comprehensive and long-range plan to enhance protection for the 671,000 people – mostly women and children – who fled Rakhine State in the first seven months after the escalation of violence in August 2017. This led to “one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world” in neighbouring Bangladesh, according to the 2018 Joint Response Plan, which was issued in March.
A long-term plan is critical, according to Christian Aid, because a range of factors will dictate whether some 1 million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh – including those who fled before the 2017 crisis – will be able to seek safety and assistance there and in Myanmar, adequately recover, and begin to rebuild their lives. Many of them, including children, have witnessed horrific violence, including killing, maiming and other attacks on civilians that are crimes under international law.
Discussions continue on the safe return of refugees to Myanmar, and on the possibility of relocating them to other areas in Bangladesh. In both instances, Christian Aid calls upon the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh to ensure that any return or relocation is voluntary, safe, and with dignity.
This would not be possible without full implementation of the recommendations of the 2017 Kofi Annan-led Advisory Commission on Rakhine, and the collective will to act on impunity and the international crimes identified in the report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission. Unless those requirements are met, any return of refugees by the governments of Bangladesh or Myanmar would not meet their obligations under international law.
Rajan Khosla, Christian Aid’s Country Manager in Myanmar, said: “It is important to implement the 2017 recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine in their entirety, including addressing the structural problems of discrimination, restrictions on movement and denial of citizenship faced by Rohingya communities. Without this, the humanitarian needs of people displaced internally will only continue to escalate.”
For more information on Christian Aid's Rohingya Crisis Appeal, visit: www.caid.org.uk/rohingya.
Notes to Editors:
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