Rohingyas in Bangladesh: Canada to provide Tk 1,951cr in 3 yrs as humanitarian aid
Canada has earmarked 288 million Canadian dollars (around Tk 1,951 crore) to provide humanitarian assistance to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh for the next three years.
Besides, 45 million CAD (around Tk 305 crore) has been allocated for the marginalised people over the next five years.
It has also assured Bangladesh of its support in areas of vaccination, climate change, and LDC issues.
The announcements came from Karina Gould, Canada's Minister for International Development, separately in two virtual meetings -- one with Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Tuesday and the other with Brac Executive Director Asif Saleh yesterday.
During the meeting with Momen, Gould said the Rohingya issue remains a foreign policy priority for Canada. She urged Bangladesh to facilitate education for Rohingya children.
Gould said Canada will consider financial support for the Rohingya genocide case at the International Court of Justice.
Momen urged Canada to take a leadership role in the Rohingya repatriation process, saying investments in education, health and pathway to citizenship for the Rohingyas in Rakhine would encourage displaced Rohingyas in Bangladesh to return to their homeland.
The foreign minister also requested the Canadian government to extend preferential trade access for graduating LDCs, including Bangladesh, till 2030 in order to help address the post-pandemic scenario.
To Momen's request for vaccine, Gould said Canada has so far contributed 545 million dollars and 30 million surplus doses to the COVAX and ensured that Canada would give due consideration to the request.
She noted Canada's support of medicine and oxygen concentrator to Bangladesh through the UNICEF and some NGOs and said such support may come in future.
Momen sought Canada's support in ensuring that the international community begins operations in Bhashan char soon.
Gould appreciated Bangladesh's decision to not build any more coal-based power plants, citing climate change risks as a global existential threat. She also said she would visit Bangladesh in person in the near future.
Meanwhile, during the virtual visit with Brac's Executive Director Asif Saleh, Gould said Canada's CAD 45 million support will fund Brac-led multi-sector initiatives, including programming in skills and vocational training, and public health outreach tailored to reach children and families that are unable to access the services they need.
In a statement, Brac said that with the funds, Canada joined the Strategic Partnership Agreement, a long-term tripartite partnership with Brac and the Government of Australia, which is closely aligned with Canada's Feminist International Assistance Policy.
"Our local, experienced partners know all too well the disproportionate impact the Covid-19 crisis has had on the world's most vulnerable. Together, we must continue to push forward and seek out those hardest to reach, including marginalised women and children," said Gould.
Saleh said Bangladesh needs resources to combat the impact of this pandemic and sustain the momentum of socio-economic growth.
"This partnership will help us keep the country on the growth trajectory and continue our efforts in the pandemic response and recovery process."