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Thursday, October 15, 2020, 16:41
Global virtual aid conference to be held for Rohingya refugees
By Reuters
Thursday, October 15, 2020, 16:41 By Reuters

A boat carrying Rohingya refugees arrives on the shorelines of Lancok village, in Indonesia's North Aceh Regency on June 25, 2020. Nearly 100 Rohingya from Myanmar, including 30 children, have been rescued from a rickety wooden boat off the coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island, a maritime official said. (CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN / AFP)

A global virtual international donor conference to raise urgently needed humanitarian aid for Rohingya refugees will be held on Oct 22, co-hosted by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United Nations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened living conditions, made access to services even more challenging, increased the risk of sexual and gender-based violence

In a joint statement on Thursday the co-hosts said less than half of the US$1 billion in aid sought by the United Nations in 2020 had been raised, and the crisis facing the Rohingya people was being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conference, which will be hosted from Washington, Geneva and Bangkok, aims to raise aid to help displaced Rohingya living both in and outside of their native Myanmar.

“The Rohingya people have faced horrific brutality and were forced to flee their homes in the worst circumstances imaginable,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in the statement.

READ MORE: 297 Rohingya refugees arrive in Indonesia's Aceh province

“We have taken action against the architects of this systemic violence, including through sanctions and we will continue to hold those responsible to account,” he said.

“The UK has also been a leading donor since 2017 to alleviate humanitarian suffering of the Rohingya. The world must wake up to the severity of their plight and come together now to save lives.”

More than one million Rohingya have fled violence in Myanmar since 2017. Most of them now live in sprawling camps in the south of Bangladesh, with as many as a dozen people sharing one shelter and scarce access to soap and water in some areas.

ALSO READ: Rohingya politicians excluded from Myanmar election

Bangladesh’s Coxs Bazar, the world’s largest refugee settlement, houses 860,000 Rohingya in camps, while other countries in Southeast Asia host up to an additional 150,000 Rohingya. An estimated 600,000 live in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened living conditions, made access to services even more challenging, increased the risk of sexual and gender-based violence, and exacerbated the risk of infectious diseases for displaced Rohingya, said the statement.

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