Thursday, April 30, 2009

Australia to give Tk 3cr to UNHCR for Rohingyas

Dhaka, Apr 30 (—Australia will provide Aus $700,000 or around Tk 3.15 crore to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for the construction of refugee camps for Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar.

A press release of the Australian High Commission in Dhaka said Thursday the funds will be used to construct improved shelters for 492 Rohingya families as part of UNHCR's ongoing shelter replacement project.

Australia earlier this month announced Aus $3.2 million humanitarian funds for the Rohingya people living in Burma's northern Rakhine State.

"This reflects Australia's commitment to a permanent solution to the Rohingya issue," the statement quoted Australian high commissioner to Bangladesh Justin Lee as saying.

"Australia's funding to UNHCR will provide better living conditions including more space, privacy and protection to around 3000 refugees, until a durable solution can be found", he said.

The UNHCR also welcomed the assistance.

"Australia's commitment to the refugee program in Bangladesh, especially by funding new shelters, has already resulted in improvements in the health and protection of the refugees," UNHCR Representative in Bangladesh, Pia Prytz Phiri said in the statement.

"This additional funding will ensure that over 80 percent of all shelter needs are met in both camps," she said.

Bangladesh has been hosting over 28,000 Rohingya refugees refusing to return to Myanmar.

They constitute a residual caseload of 250,000 who entered Bangladesh in 1991 and 1992.

UNHCR has been providing assistance to Rohingya refugees since 1991 when hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims poured into Bangladesh following a crackdown on them by the Burma's military junta.

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