The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Saudi Arabia's King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief) will provide $1 million each to a programme managed by the World Food Programme (WFP) to rehabilitate cyclone shelters and reduce the risk of disasters in Cox’s Bazar.
USAID and KSRelief have signed a joint statement expressing their shared commitment, said the US Embassy on Friday.
USAID Acting Deputy Administrator John Barsa; KSRelief Supervisor General Dr. Abullah Al Rabeeah; U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Abizaid, and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ambassador to the United States HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud participated in the virtual signing ceremony.
Acting Deputy Administrator Barsa reiterated the commitment of the United States to strengthening the resilience of vulnerable Bangladeshi host communities in Cox’s Bazar that host over 860,000 Rohingya refugees, including in the world’s largest refugee camp, while facing compounding shocks, including extreme weather and the pandemic of COVID-19.
Barsa also recognized USAID’s long-standing collaboration with KSRelief and commended the agency for joining USAID as a leading donor of needs-based humanitarian assistance to the world’s most vulnerable.
The Acting Deputy Administrator thanked WFP for its partnership with USAID to combat global hunger and responding to the Rohingya crisis and other humanitarian emergencies around the world.
The United Kingdom (UK) has said imports from 47 of the world’s least developed countries, including Bangladesh, will not face any tariffs – supporting their economic development through business and trade.
Low-income and lower-middle income countries will benefit from lower tariffs compared to the UK Global Tariff, according to Department for International Trade, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.
The trade preference scheme will cover any eligible countries that do not have their existing trade agreements transitioned into a new agreement with the UK.
The UK imported approximately £8 billion-worth of textiles and apparel products from eligible countries last year.
The UK government is planning on improving the scheme to better support developing countries – more details will be announced in 2021.
British importers will continue to pay zero or reduced tariffs on everyday goods such as clothing and vegetables from the world’s poorest countries now the UK has left the EU, Liz Truss announced on Tuesday.
The UK’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) will cover all the same countries that are currently eligible for trade preferences under the EU’s GSP, allowing businesses to trade as they do now without disruption.
In 2019, the UK imported approximately £8 billion-worth of textiles and apparel products from countries which are part of the EU GSP.
This accounted for 30% of all textile and apparel imports into the UK. "We also imported approximately £1billion-worth of vegetables from eligible countries, accounting for around 8% of all vegetable imports."
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said free trade helps businesses to grow, boosts the economy and creates new jobs.
"We are making sure that the world’s poorest countries can continue to take advantage of the opportunities that free trade offers them by allowing them to export their products to the UK at preferential rates."
This will help developing economies establish strong industries, creating jobs and helping them reduce their reliance on overseas aid in the long term, she said.
The scheme will also help British businesses continue trading seamlessly after "we leave the EU", as well as giving British consumers continued access to some of their favourite products at affordable prices.
The UK’s GSP will also help make products from developing countries more attractive to UK importers, enabling businesses in developing countries to grow and prosper and supporting jobs in those economies.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Global Britain is a partner of choice for developing countries. "We take a liberal approach to trade, recognising that many developing countries want to trade their way to greater prosperity."
Raab said they back that up with the integrity of the investments UK businesses make, and their commitment to be a force for good in their communities through our support for green jobs, climate change mitigation and programs to deliver girls education.
The Least Developed Countries Framework will give duty- and quota-free access for all 47 countries classified by the UN as Least Developed Countries.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has warned that Covid-19 is worsening the plight of millions of stateless people worldwide.
Marking the sixth anniversary of UNHCR’s #IBelong Campaign, aimed at ending statelessness by 2024, Grandi called on world leaders to include and protect stateless populations and make bold and swift moves to eradicate statelessness.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has shown more than ever the need for inclusion and the urgency to resolve statelessness," Grandi said.
He said a pandemic does not discriminate between citizens and non-citizens. "It is not in any state’s, society’s or community’s interest for people to be left stateless and living on the margins of society."
“We must redouble efforts to resolve this affront to humanity in the 21st century," he added.
Lacking important legal rights and often unable to access essential services, many stateless people are politically and economically marginalised, discriminated against and vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.
In many countries, stateless people, including stateless refugees, live in sub-standard and inadequate sanitary conditions which can increase the risk of disease.
Though global data is hard to obtain as stateless populations are not always accounted for or included in national censuses, some 4.2 million stateless people are reported by UNHCR in 76 countries.
The actual number is believed, however, to be substantially higher.
While significant progress has been made in reducing statelessness worldwide since the launch of the campaign in November 2014, the coronavirus pandemic has now exacerbated many of the difficulties and injustices that stateless people face.
“Without citizenship, many stateless people do not have access to or are not included in essential public health services and social safety nets. They have been left extremely vulnerable in the face of this pandemic,” said Grandi.
Some countries have, however, shown leadership by including stateless people in their response to Covid-19, ensuring they have access to testing and treatment, food, clothing and masks. Some governments have made birth registration and other forms of civil documentation an essential service, maintaining operations despite the pandemic, helping to prevent new cases of statelessness arising.
“Statelessness is an easily resolvable and preventable issue – a matter of political will to change a person’s status and life - yet the consequences of inaction especially during the middle of a pandemic can be life-threatening,” said Grandi.
“To protect and save lives, we urge governments to resolve statelessness and make sure that no one is left behind," Grandi added.
South Korea has provided US$ 1 million to the UNICEF office in Bangladesh to assist UNICEF's activities in the country this year with a focus on gender-based violence (GBV) in emergencies, particularly in Cox's Bazar.
This assistance will help protect women, adolescents, and girls in the Rohingya refugee camp and the host community from gender-based violence and its consequences, especially amid the increasing GBV cases in the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, said the South Korean Embassy in Dhaka on Tuesday.
Since the outbreak of the Rohingya crisis in 2017, the Korean government has contributed US$ 3.7 million to UNICEF Bangladesh's activities for providing access to survivor-centered and adolescent-focused services against GBV, implementing preventive measures to tackle underlying causes of GBV, and offering protective favors for adolescent boys and girls.
This assistance is also in line with Korea's "Action with Women and Peace" initiative launched in 2018 to contribute more actively to the international efforts to uphold and strengthen women's rights, particularly in a conflict situation as stipulated in the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325.
The Republic of Korea has been working with UNICEF Bangladesh through KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency) to improve Bangladeshi women and children's lives.
Between 2015 and 2019, with the financial support of 8 million USD by KOICA, UNICEF has implemented the "Project for Improving Effective Coverage of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Interventions and Reducing Preventable Child Death" in Tangail and Khulna District.
The Embassy of the Republic of Korea will continue to make its best effort to improve the lives of women and children in Bangladesh in various ways, in particular through its collaboration with international organizations.
The United Kingdom has sought an amendment to Myanmar's citizenship laws to allow everyone to fully participate in Myanmar's political process.
"It’s now vital to amend the citizenship laws to ensure that everyone can participate fully in Myanmar’s political process," said Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) Minister for Asia Nigel Adams.
The UK minister urged the authorities in Myanmar to make sure free and fair elections are held at the earliest opportunity in those areas where they were cancelled.
"We also condemn the kidnapping of parliamentary candidates by the Arakan Army and call for their immediate release," said Adams.
He said the 2020 elections are a "significant milestone" on Myanmar’s path from military dictatorship to democracy.
"However, we were disappointed to see the Rohingya and other minorities were once again disenfranchised," Adams said in a statement adding that elections were cancelled in areas of conflict without a clear rationale or transparency.
The UK minister said they are pleased that many people in Myanmar were able to exercise their hard won right to vote this weekend and remain committed to supporting their aspirations for peace and full democracy.
"We’ll work with the new government and civil society to this end," he said.
Myanmar’s ruling National League for Democracy claimed Monday it had won a clear parliamentary majority and would retain power, even though the state election body has named just a few of the winners in Sunday’s elections, reports AP.
The Union Election Commission earlier said full results may take a week. By 8 p.m., it had announced the winners of just nine of Parliament’s 642 seats, all nine NLD candidates.
An NLD spokesperson, Monywa Aung Shin, said the party had confirmed it won more than 322 seats — a majority — but the final outcome “would be likely more than” the party’s goal of 377 seats.