Human rights groups call for return of aid to Rohingya refugees.
On March 16, the British-based Burma Campaign-UK asked to prepare for the British government's decision to cut 82 percent of aid to the nearly one million Rohingyas in Bangladesh and to restore aid as before.
In 2019-2020, 112.36 million pounds were supported, but in 2022-2023, only 20.36 million pounds will be supported, according to a statement by Burma Campaign UK.
He said that he answered a question in the British Parliament about support for the Rohingya refugees.
The British government has cut aid to Rohingya refugees by 82 percent in the current budget year.
Karin Valtersson, organizer of the Burma Campaign UK, said the British government's now 82 percent cut could worsen the already food-insecure refugee situation. He also requested to return the previous aid for these refugees.
"It is very bad that the British government has cut aid to the Rohingya refugees. The Rohingya refugees are suffering badly in Bangladesh camps. At the moment, they have not been able to return to Burma either. Due to the military coup, it is not possible to return to Burma again. Most of the refugees are children. It is very bad that they are doing this when they are already suffering from insufficient food. Governments around the world, including the British government, should amend the reductions in aid and support them as before."
Human rights watchdog HRW's Asia director, Phil Robertson, also added that he was shocked by the British government's decision to cut aid to the Rohingya and added that this decision should be reversed, and aid should be provided as before.
"I am shocked and feel illogical that the British government has drastically reduced aid to the Rohingya refugees. Although the British government was willing to help when the international attention was on the Rohingya issue, now that the Rohingya conflict is no longer the world's top issue, it seems that the Rohingya issue is backing away.
As a result of this action by the British government, food rations for refugee families have already been reduced. Therefore, the British government should revise this decision and provide generous assistance as originally provided." The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (WFP) has cut aid to the Rohingya by 17 percent since early March.
Rohingya rights activist Nay San Lwin told RFA that if the British government, a donor country, cuts aid by 82 percent again, the UN World Food Program (WFP) will receive less monthly food aid for the Rohingya.
"I just left Bangladesh last Tuesday. I also met with relevant donor countries. I also met with Bangladeshi government officials. If we don't get enough budget to feed these people, we will reduce it further. We went to each donor country, including Britain, to see what could happen if this reduction was made.
“If Britain has strongly said that the decision is confirmed and if it is cut by 82 percent, it will affect more to eat and drink. It may be reduced from $10 to $8, or even $6. It can be very damaging to the ground." Since the WFP's 12 dollars a month support for the Rohingyas in Bangladesh has decreased, it has been able to support only 10 dollars a month since March.
Refugees in the Cossack Bazar, district of Bangladesh, say they do not have enough money to pay for food, and they have been asking for an increase in their allowance from $20 to $30 a month.
"We never had enough budget from the beginning since forever. Even with $12, we didn't have enough. Because we didn't have enough, some of us left for Malays, Indonesians, etc. They died at sea, were extorted from human trafficking groups, tortured, sexually assaulted, and so on. Now that we have reduced it, the situation could become worse," he said.
Ko Aung Myaing from Ku Tu Palaung refugee camp in Bangladesh said that Rohingya refugees are not allowed to go out of the camp to work, so they live on subsidies. If the subsidy is reduced, it may take longer to cross the sea to other countries to risk their lives, and human trafficking and crime may increase, according to refugee camp residents and Rohingya activists.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly two hundred Rohingya died during the sea journey in 2022. These Rohingya refugees in the refugee camps of Bangladesh are those who survived the genocidal attacks of the Myanmar army. Now they are once again suffering from the international community's failure to provide even the most basic need for food, two UN special envoys said in a statement.