WORLD

Rohingya Crisis: Australia Commits Further $10M In Humanitarian Aid

The government has now provided $30 million in assistance funding.

23/10/2017 7:36 PM AEDT | Updated 23/10/2017 7:38 PM AEDT
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The Rohingya crisis is now nearing the point of a mass genocide, according to some.

The Australian Government has committed to providing a further $10 million in humanitarian aid that will go towards assisting those affected by the current Rohingya crisis situation in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said in a statement on Monday that the additional funding from the Turnbull Government will bring Australia's contribution to supporting those in need to $30 million, aimed at providing "food, clean water, shelter and essential health services".

"The Australian Government remains deeply concerned by the ongoing violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar, and the resulting humanitarian crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh," the statement said.

"Australia will contribute a further $10 million to help address the humanitarian needs of those people affected by the crisis.

"Australian support will go towards providing food, clean water, shelter and essential health services. Our assistance will also help treat children for malnutrition, create safe and secure areas for vulnerable women and provide maternal health services."

On latest figure estimates from the United Nations, the Rohingya crisis -- which has been labelled by some as nearing the point of a mass genocide -- has seen more than 582,000 Rohingya people flee south-western Myanmar for Bangladesh since August.

According to the BBC, the Rohingya are an ethnic minority in Myanmar who represent the largest group of Muslims in the country. With the Rohingya having their own language and culture, Myanmar's government -- which rules over a predominantly Buddhist nation -- has denied the group citizenship in the past, labelling them illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.

The latest mass movement of refugees was sparked after tensions rose to the point where Rohingya militants attacked police posts in Myanmar and the country's military responded by burning their villages and attacking and killing citizens.

TAUSEEF MUSTAFA via Getty Images
More than half a million Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar to avoid violence and persecution.

Since then, Rohingya refugees have been fleeing to Bangladesh in their tens of thousands -- creating what is quickly becoming the world's largest refugee camp on the border between the two countries -- leaving many children without parents, and also to be abused or raped.

According to Bishop's statement, the Australian Government's funding will also be sent to humanitarian programs aimed at supporting those affected by the crisis.

"[Australia's] new contribution will include support for the World Food Program, Save The Children, Oxfam and Care. It will also support an upcoming joint funding appeal with the Australia Red Cross and Australia for UNHCR," the statement said.

"The Australian Government condemns the ongoing violence in Rakhine State. We continue to call for the protection of civilians and unfettered access for humanitarian workers."

Human Rights Watch
Map locating 700 buildings destroyed in August 2017 in the Rohingya-majority village of Chein Khar Li, Burma.

In recent months, Myanmar's historical beacon of moral leadership, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been conspicuously quiet when it comes to the crisis -- with some saying her inaction on the mass exodus is simply "inexcusable and unacceptable".

The Nobel-Peace Prize winner and Myanmar's de-facto leader, who spent 15 years under house arrest for defying a military junta, Suu Kyi has stood silent as the military systematically slaughter Rohingya civilians -- a move that can be viewed as a pragmatic trade-off to give her political cover.

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