Press Release

New Zealand commits 1 million NZD to help UNFPA meet the humanitarian needs of women and girls amid the Rohingya crisis

23 December 2017
New Zealand funds will help strengthen lifesaving sexual reproductive health care delivery and safeguards against gender-based violence

Cox’s Bazar 23 December 2017 - The New Zealand government has committed 1 million NZD to help UNFPA address the sexual and reproductive health and protection needs of women and girls, and to aid survivors of gender-based violence amid the Rohingya humanitarian response.

Since the 25th of August, 655,000 Rohingya refugees have entered Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh from neighbouring Rakhine State in Myanmar. Now four months into the crisis, the needs on the ground – for shelter, food, clean water, sanitation, healthcare and protection – remain staggering. And the unique health and safety needs of women and girls – who represent over half of arrivals – compounded and far from being met.

More than 30,000 women among the new arrivals are pregnant, and almost 11,000 are expected to give birth by the end of February 2018. Nearly 1,500 are at risk of life-threatening pregnancy complications and need access to functioning health facilities for delivery.

Overcrowding and limited privacy across the camps and settlement areas have heightened risks of gender-based violence and exploitation for women and girls. Up to one in five Rohingya refugee families are female-headed, exhibiting even greater vulnerability.

The New Zealand government’s funding commitment recognizes that women and girls are particularly impacted by the crisis. “We commend UNFPA’s tireless efforts to support women and girls impacted by the Rohingya refugee crisis,” said Craig John Hawke, Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations. “We recognize the important role UNFPA plays in delivering lifesaving sexual and reproductive health care and safeguarding the rights of women and girls and we are pleased to support these efforts.”

UNFPA is working in partnership with the Bangladesh Government, UN agencies, and international and local organizations to meet the health and protection needs of the most vulnerable women and girls in Cox’s Bazar, including Rohingya refugees and host communities. Iori Kato, Acting Representative of UNFPA Bangladesh lauds New Zealand’s timely support to scale up the response. “Currently, there is no end in sight to this crisis. With more women and girls arriving from Myanmar by the day, this funding is crucial for the scale up of our lifesaving reproductive health and gender-based violence prevention and response services. We are grateful for the Government of New Zealand’s show of leadership, helping to ensure women and girls are not left behind in this response.”




For more information, contact:

Melissa Ludeke, UNFPA Humanitarian Communications Officer