UK Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field and UK Special Envoy for Gender Equality Joanna Roper have called for greater humanitarian assistance for the Rohingyas.
“I call on the international community to work with Bangladesh to step up support for the refugees, both during this monsoon season and in the longer term through the provision of education and livelihoods,” the UK minister said in a statement on Sunday.
Mentioning the situation in the Rohingya camps ‘truly heartbreaking’, Field said, “It only redoubles my determination to support the refugees.”
He pledged that they will continue to use international pressure and dialogue with the Burmese authorities to make progress, including through their support for the EU sanctions measures announced on 25 June.
Mentioning the stories they heard in the camps ‘deeply disturbing’, Joanna Roper said “I was moved by the efforts being made to provide support to women and girls in the camps, as well as the learning centres for Rohingya children, displaying a thirst for education despite all that they have endured at such a young age.”
She said girls’ education is the right thing to do: women and girls have the right to be educated, equal, empowered and safe.
“As the Foreign Secretary said at the UN Human Rights Council on 18 June, we must leave no girl behind and enable all girls to receive 12 years of quality education. That message is equally important for Rohingya girls to hear,” said the special envoy.
In a visit to Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar on Saturday, Minister Field and Joanna Roper met refugee families and community leaders to hear about the persecution they suffered in Rakhine and the challenges they face in the refugee camps.
The UK representatives are scheduled to hold talks with Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed and State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam on Sunday on the Rohingya crisis, and the wider situation in Bangladesh.