Rushanara Ali MP: Cuts to UK aid to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh will cost lives

Savage cuts to UK aid to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh have been condemned by Labour’s Rushanara Ali MP.

The UK Government has announced a 42% reduction in funding to aid Rohingya people who fled genocidal violence in Myanmar, now housed in vast refugee camps in Bangladesh. The £27.6 million announced by UK ministers represents less than a quarter of what the UK contributed in 2019. The military coup in Myanmar makes it even harder for the Rohingya to return home to the villages they were forced to leave in 2017.

Rushanara Ali, Labour MP for Bethnal Green & Bow, said:

"These cuts to aid for some of the most traumatised and desperate people in the world are savage, cruel, and will cost lives. Cuts on this scale will affect the supplies of clean water, shelter, malaria nets, and the prevention of the spread of Covid-19.

The British Government has a duty to maintain the levels of aid it promised. We have learned from the last year that none of us is safe until all of us are safe, and to cut the aid budget now not only endangers lives in Bangladesh, but also threatens our wellbeing and safety in the UK.

We warned of the folly of the UK Government abandoning the long-held target of investing 0.7% of GDP on overseas aid, and abolishing the Department for International Development (DFID). Foreign Office Minister Baroness Sugg resigned over it. Now, we are seeing the consequences, and the price is being paid by the beleaguered Rohingya refugees.

I urge Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab MP to think again, and reverse these cruel cuts before it is too late."



Notes to editors

1. According to Burma Campaign UK, the UK aid allocation to the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh since the genocide in 2017 has been:

2017-2018 £129m

2019 £117m

2020 £47.5m

2021 £27.6m

This is despite the rising costs of treating the spread of Covid-19 in the camps.

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