Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is an Australian government priority in crisis responses. When the Rohingya community began to flee violence in Myanmar in large numbers from August 2017, around 60 per cent of those displaced were women and girls.
Australia was quick to act, joining international efforts to help the Government of Bangladesh respond to the crisis. Working closely with trusted humanitarian partners, Australia helped establish programs to uphold the safety and dignity of those who had survived violence, or who were at risk.
Australia supported the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to establish women-only spaces in Cox's Bazar, providing more than 53,000 Rohingya women and girls with access to a safe place, counselling and health services. Our funding also assisted UNFPA to help more than 83,000 women and girls recover from sexual and gender-based violence.
The annual monsoon season posed additional risks to the safety and wellbeing of the nearly 919,000 displaced Rohingya. Australia supported UNFPA to preposition supplies to ensure they could continue to provide vital health services.
Australia also partnered with BRAC, the preeminent Bangladesh-based NGO, to deliver psychosocial and health support to Rohingya victims of sexual and gender-based violence. Our engagement with BRAC supports local leadership in crisis responses and helps build the capacity of Bangladesh civil society to address future crises.
Australia has provided $70 million in humanitarian assistance to Bangladesh and Myanmar since the crisis began in August 2017.