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Italy to donate €1M aid for Rohingya in Bangladesh

Additional funds to be channeled through UNHCR to help persecuted Rohingya, says Italian premier

Md. Kamruzzaman   | 06.02.2020
Italy to donate €1M aid for Rohingya in Bangladesh FILE PHOTO

DHAKA, Bangladesh

Italy pledged to provide an additional €1 million ($1.1 million) in aid to Rohingya Muslims living in makeshift camps in Bangladesh's southern district of Cox's Bazar, according to media reports.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the commitment in the capital Rome on Wednesday during a bilateral meeting with visiting Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

"In addition to the existing assistance, [Italy] will provide €1 million for the help of the Rohingya citizens through the [UN refugee agency] UNHCR," said Ihsanul Karim, Hasina's press secretary, according to Bangladesh's state-run news agency.

For his part, Conte lauded Bangladesh's "super human endeavors" to host over one million Rohingya fleeing persecution in Myanmar over the last few decades, mostly after a massive crackdown in August 2017.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled, Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience.

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down while 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

During the bilateral meeting, Hasina also urged the international community, including Italy, to pressure Myanmar to obey a recent ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the country's treatment of its Rohingya minority in Rakhine state, Karim added.

The Hague-based ICJ, the top court of the UN, issued Myanmar an interim judgement last month to take emergency measures to prevent the genocide of the Rohingya.

Delivering its verdict on the case filed in December 2019 by Gambia, ICJ President Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf also declared a four-month deadline for Myanmar to take preventive measures and ensure that the Rohingya in the country would not be harmed.

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