Portsmouth MP Penny Mordaunt hears Rohingya women's harrowing stories on trip as development secretary

Penny Mordaunt visits Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh to announce 12m funding for the Rohingya crisis. Picture: DFID
Penny Mordaunt visits Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh to announce 12m funding for the Rohingya crisis. Picture: DFID
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CITY MP Penny Mordaunt has branded the Rohingya crisis as 'ethnic cleansing' as she met some of the thousands of people driven from their homes in Burma.

Development secretary Ms Mordaunt was in Bangladesh to announce £12m funding to supply food and to help plug the gap when international funding runs out next February.

After meeting those who fled Burma while on a trip to Cox’s Bazar, Ms Mordaunt said: 'The persistent persecution of the Rohingya people must stop. It is horrifying that hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children have had their homes burnt to the ground, and parents have been forced to helplessly watch as their children die from hunger.

'This looks like ethnic cleansing. The Burmese military must end this inhumane violence and guarantee unrestricted humanitarian access so aid can reach those in need in Burma. Any return of families to their homes must be safe, voluntary and dignified.

'Global funding to support the Rohingya people will only meet urgent needs for the next 100 days – we cannot turn our backs on those trapped in crisis.

'Other countries must follow our lead and do even more to help children overcome the trauma of war, reunite them with their families and give a future to the next generation.'

Penny Mordaunt visits Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh to announce 12m funding for the Rohingya crisis. Picture: DFID

Penny Mordaunt visits Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh to announce 12m funding for the Rohingya crisis. Picture: DFID

The MP, who was made development secretary earlier this month, heard harrowing stories from Rohingya women and girls.

She added: 'The countless stories of sexual violence I have heard from Rohingya women and girls are truly shocking and the high rates of this crime across the world are a global scandal.

'The UK is absolutely determined to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls and we are increasing protection for Rohingya women and girls against sexual violence and exploitation.

'We are stepping up our leadership - working closely with women leaders and grassroots charities - to help more survivors in some of the world’s poorest countries overcome the traumas of violence.'

Ms Mordaunt also announced a separate £12m package of UK aid support for multiple countries tackling sexual violence that government hopes will help around 750,000 women and girls over the next three years.