Switzerland pledges CHF8 million for Rohingya refugees

The Cox's Bazar refugee camp, in Bangladesh. Keystone / Shafiqur Rahman

The Swiss contribution was made at a donor conference organised by the United Nations in Geneva on Tuesday, which is hoping to raise almost $1 billion to help the Rohingya.

This content was published on May 18, 2021 - 15:52

The Swiss offer of $8.7 million (almost CHF8 million) will mainly go towards the UN’s activities in Bangladesh, said Manuel Bessler, the head of the Swiss humanitarian aid corps.

The rest will go towards Swiss development projects in the region, which currently include anti-sexual violence campaigns and efforts to boost access to clean water and education.

Close to a million Rohingya have been living in crowded camps in southern Bangladesh since fleeing a military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state nearly four years ago.

Many more people have been fleeing Myanmar since February, when the military overthrew the civilian government and began a crackdown on protesters that has killed more than 800 people, according to the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners.

On Monday, on the eve of the donor conference, the head of the UN’s refugee agency Filippo Grandi told Reuters that the fate of the Rohingya was at risk of being forgotten in the wake of this coup and the chaos which has followed.

“The development in Myanmar risks overshadowing the fact that this is a crisis that pre-existed this development and will continue to be a crisis that needs to be addressed both in Bangladesh and in Myanmar,” Grandi said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Grandi said that donors had so far pledged $340 million for the 2021 programme, meaning it is currently 36% funded, he said.

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