World, Asia - Pacific

Rohingya girls fear sexual abuse in camps

Lack of freedom of movement in Bangladesh camps for Rohingya girls biggest problem as they fear abduction, sexual abuse

20.06.2018
Rohingya girls fear sexual abuse in camps

By Dildar Baykan

ANKARA

Rohingya girls remain confined to their tents in Bangladesh as they fear abduction and sexual abuse if they venture outside, said a report released on Wednesday.

“Adolescent Girls in crisis: Voices of the Rohingya” released by U.K.-based organization Plan International compiles interviews with 300 girls in two age brackets, 10-14 and 15-19.

According to the report, one of the biggest problems Rohingya girls face in the camps is the lack of freedom of movement.

The families do not want the girls to leave their tents fearing that their daughters may be abducted or sexually assaulted.

The economic and physical weaknesses caused by the crises also leave girls and women vulnerable to problems such as human trafficking, sexual exploitation, early and forced marriage.

Many of the girls refer to the conditions at the refugee camps as “suffocating”.

The families live in overcrowded tents and shelters which increases the security concerns and workload on girls.

The report said that the girls feel safer than they did in Myanmar, but feel restricted as they have no access to education and are not able to develop any skills.

While Rohingya girls of all ages are interested in going to school, the access to education for Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar is hindered.

"Due to lack of educational opportunities, language problems, security concerns, housework and the lack of respect for girls' education, Rohingya girls are also prevented from going to school in Bangladesh."

Rohingya crisis

Since Aug. 25, 2017, more than 750,000 refugees, mostly children, and women, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to Amnesty International.

At least 9,400 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24 last year, according to Doctors Without Borders.

In a report published recently, the humanitarian group said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

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