The government of Japan and the UN Refugee Agency signed a partnership agreement to provide $3.50 million protection and humanitarian assistance to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh on Wednesday.
The contribution of $3.50 million [JPY 505 million] will be used to maintain access to critical and life-sustaining services for refugees living in Cox's Bazar camps and on Bhasanchar, officials of the UNHCR and Japan Embassy said.
"UNHCR is grateful for the support from the Japanese government and its people towards Rohingya refugees, and their solidarity with the government and people of Bangladesh hosting them," said Johannes Van Der Klaauw, UNHCR representative in Bangladesh.
"Japan was the first to support the humanitarian response on Bhasanchar. Its contribution has allowed UNHCR to strengthen local NGO work on the island, including providing protection and access to essential services."
As per the agreement, UNHCR will continue its humanitarian response at camps and on Bhasanchar, focusing on providing key services like legal and community-based protection, access to health, hygiene and sanitation, nutrition support and core relief items.
"Japan decided to provide assistance to this project, with the strong hope that it will improve the protection, healthcare and livelihood opportunities of the Rohingya population on Bhasanchar, and enhance their security in Cox's Bazar," said Ito Naoki, Japanese ambassador in Dhaka.
"During my recent visit to Cox's Bazar, I saw the dedicated and innovative work of UNHCR and its partners," he added.
As the Rohingya crisis has turned into its sixth year, Mr Naoki said, it is imperative to continue funding for better and dignified lives of refugees, while making every effort for their early repatriation to Myanmar.
With the view that a durable solution to this crisis will be conducive to realising a free and open Indo-Pacific region, Japan will stand by Bangladesh in supporting the Rohingya response, he cited.
Skills development and livelihood activities will be strengthened to provide refugees with the capacities to support and help them prepare for a safe and sustainable return to Myanmar, once conditions are conducive.
The crisis has protracted and Rohingya refugees' lives are still dependent on humanitarian assistance.
The support from Japan comes at a crucial moment, as the Rohingya response is one of the underfunded refugee situations in the world, according to UNHCR officials.
As the emergency began in August 2017, Japan has been a steadfast supporter of the Rohingya response, contributing over $170 million, including this new funding, to UNHCR and other UN agencies and NGOs here.