The new initiative aims at supporting the identification and registration of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, at facilitating the provision of humanitarian support, as well as at ensuring the better protection of particularly vulnerable individuals.
The EU's initiative is a demonstration of its commitment to support the creation of all necessary conditions for the eventual voluntary, safe and dignified return of Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh to their place of origin. In this respect, the EU's initiative aims to support the implementation of the bilateral repatriation agreement between the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh, which was signed on 23 November 2017. This programme will build on ongoing identification and registration efforts, including biometric registration by the Bangladeshi government. In view of the high levels of vulnerability among the refugees, where there are high numbers of women-led households, many of whom have suffered various forms of violence and deep psychological harm, individual protection and special assistance is essential to ensure appropriate, targeted humanitarian support.
During her visit to the refugee camps in Cox's Bazar on 19 November 2017, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice–President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, reiterated the European Union's support to the Bangladeshi authorities for receiving those who have fled Northern Rakhine State. She also underlined the EUs commitment to provide humanitarian support to the refugees and stressed that "the European Union will continue to lead the work of the donor community because we believe that human dignity and peoples' lives must always be protected."
Today's announcement is the latest in a significant number of EU-led actions in response to the crisis, notably: the EU co-hosted donors' conference, which took place in Geneva in October, at which the European Union pledged the leading amount of new funding, and together the EU and its Member States pledged almost half of the overall amount; the EU's initiative to lead the resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council to establish an independent, international Fact-Finding Mission for the situation in Northern Rakhine State, and then to extend its mandate; as well as several high-level visits to Bangladesh and Myanmar, which enabled direct contacts with the authorities, both by High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini and the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Christos Stylianides.
This measure is funded by the EU's Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), and will be implemented by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It complements the EU's significant emergency humanitarian aid mobilised to meet the most urgent needs of the Rohingya refugee population and host communities in Bangladesh and Myanmar, which in 2017 totalled over €51 million, as well as support to early recovery and development actions in both countries.