Rohingya babies born daily in Bangladesh refugee camps

Evarado Alatorre
May 17, 2018

According to the United Nations, there were about 905,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh as of April, some of them having fled earlier violence.

Myanmar denies allegations of rape, torture, arson and killings, saying it is fighting militants and not targeting civilians.

In March UN launched $951 million to help the Rohingya refugees but according to the official, only 20 percent funds reached there.

Only about 1 in 5 of the babies born in the refugee camps since September past year were delivered in medical facilities, UNICEF said, a total of about 3,000 out of 16,000.

As new waves of violence started in Rakhine State in August past year, there were widespread reports of rape and sexual violence against women and girls.

Beigbeder also added, "It is impossible to know the true number of babies who have been or will be born as a result of sexual violence but it is important that every new-born and expectant mother should receive help and support".

Estimates suggest that only 18 per cent of mothers now give birth in health centres.

Unicef case management workers regularly visit mothers in their shelters to assess their situation, provide support, and offer them referral services.

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The agency is advocating for birth registration, and has mobilized almost 250 community volunteers to help ensure women seek medical care.

Unicef is also advocating proper and legal birth registration for newborns, as Unicef is concerned that without this, the babies will have trouble accessing vital basic services they are entitled to.

The "invisibility" of non-registered children increases their vulnerability and the risk that violations of their rights will go unnoticed, UNICEF said.

During the times of conflict and unrest, providing newborns with birth registration is a matter of urgent priority, it said.

Children unregistered at birth or without identification documents are often excluded from accessing education, health care and social security, the UNICEF statement added.

If children are separated from their families, reuniting them is also made more hard by the lack of official documentation.

Both Bangladesh and Myanmar sides realised the need for quick repatriation of Rohingya refugees as the Joint Working Group (JWG) is holding its second meeting in Dhaka today.

On 16 January, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a document on "Physical Arrangement" which will facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland from Bangladesh.

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