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Rohingya Women and Girls

Volume 649: debated on Wednesday 21 November 2018

2. What steps the Government are taking to tackle gender-based violence against Rohingya women and girls. (907726)

The United Kingdom has prioritised protecting and safeguarding women and girls in the speed and scale of our response to the Rohingya crisis. Our latest funding to the crisis will reach over 250,000 people affected by sexual and gender-based violence with targeted training, psychosocial support, and sexual and reproductive health treatment.

Hundreds of incidents of gender-based violence are being reported each week in Rohingya refugee camps. In line with the recommendations in the 2015 global report on Security Council resolution 1325, will the Minister guarantee that all future funding for the Rohingya response allocates at least 15% to gender in the emergency programming?

We have given ring-fenced funding to protect women and girls—indeed, over and above the recommendation that the hon. Gentleman has raised—which forms part of our latest £70 million of support. We have provided 30 children-friendly spaces, 19 women’s centres and case management for over 2,000 survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to raise this. We share his concern, and we are—practically—doing something about it.

What practical action is being taken to ensure that the infrastructure at Cox’s Bazar improves the safety of Rohingya women and girls?

My hon. Friend will know that if someone goes there and sees the nature of the camp, they will realise that over a period of time improvements have been made to ensure better safety. Practical issues such as lighting, making sure that people are safe at night, is an important part of that. However, there are always concerns that there is more to be done. We have directed our efforts not just to supporting infrastructure, but to practical work with clinics and safe spaces for women and girls. Above all, this is about making sure that people have somewhere to go if they fear there is any risk, but sadly, too many people in the camps report that, as time goes on, this will still be something they need help to counter.

Last month, I attended a fundraising event held by the North East Rohingya Solidarity Campaign, which raised over £7,000 to help establish a centre for women and girls to protect those refugees from trafficking, abuse and forced prostitution. Will the Minister outline what more the Government could do to support our local communities across the UK who are standing so much in solidarity with the people described as the “most persecuted on Earth”?

First, I thank the hon. Lady for her questions and comments, and I very much support what she has been doing in her local community. With our small charities fund, Aid Match, this all goes to work to support local communities who are doing what they are doing, and to support the charities that are engaged with the work, where the United Kingdom is also providing the funding. All these things make a contribution to safe spaces, and to giving those who are running the camp the support they need to counter what they fear will be continuing issues of domestic violence and attempted trafficking in the camps the longer they are there.