Rohingya children are such a wreath generation that they are denied all shorts rights in their own state, went through terrible violence, and finally fled to Bangladesh for their survival. Bangladesh with its outsized population burden, still surely welcomed them with great empathy and responsibility. Nevertheless, the situation is yet practically arranged and convivial for them in the temporary settlement, the services and facilities are not sufficient in comparison to their actual number. Various reports found that the children covered almost 50-60% of the total population when they came here during the mass exodus in 2017 and their number is increasing in the makeshift camps every year.
However, Bangladesh was trying its best to carry the Rohingyas until repatriation with its minimal resources and having support from many international authorities, organizations, and communities to ensure right-based services such as (nutritious food, hygiene, health care, informal education, and youth development skill) for the children in the camps. Additionally, beginning of this year it has approved pertaining formal education for the Rohingya children up to school level but regrettably the plan could not get a scope to see the light because this time pandemics started to invade there in accessing their all sorts of privileges. In an attempt to stop the coronavirus from being spreading out in the camps most of the services are cut down since March 2020 accepts emergency care.
A press release of UNICEF 25th August 2020, said that along with its partner organization Unicef is continuously working to provide emergency services and trying to inform the Rohingya people all sorts of safety procedures and habits from being infected from coronavirus but still children are in terrified condition and their research found 64% of the children have fear of getting infected. Once they lost their loved one during hostility towards them and their families they didn't forget the nightmare yet and this time coronavirus is intimidating them to be helpless once again.
Before the pandemics, Rohingya children have at least a few opportunities to unofficial education and learning some vocational skills but pandemics is also threatened them to way in such effort, news released by ReliefWeb 25th August 2020. An UNICEF study found that among Rohingya children 48% are distraught because of closing learning centers reports by AA News 24th June 2020. For Rohingya children, there have no alternative learning and skill development measures in pandemic time that may insecure them more, leading them increasing frustration to be lost generation.
Nutritious food access was always hard-hitting for Rohingyas to manage for their families and in the corona situation, food supply shortage and price hike have provoked escalating malnutrition rate remarkably among the children. In a study, UNICEF published an impact of COVID-19 in the camps on June 7th, 2020, where Dr. Karanveer Sing the nutrition manager of Cox’s Bazar said that “The level of food insecurity is high. The camps are overcrowded and there is poor sanitation. These factors place malnourished children at high risk when there is a disease outbreak in the camps, further spiraling the vicious cycle of malnutrition and infection,” The community nutrition screening in the camps is also postponed because of pandemics.
Along with other troubles, child marriage is on the rise in the camps as the families are facing very uncertain times during corona emergency. Also, any kind of violence and trafficking are getting higher in the Rohingya settled area during pandemics and mostly children are getting affected because of being an easy target. The closing down of many youth-centered activities and services is affecting the children badly in this situation where they are already a vulnerable group reported by Thomson Reuters Foundation news on 17th September 2020.
To initiate all activities in full swing enough funding is necessary for the Rohingya people but a report found from UN-OCHA in June 2020, shows that the financial need in this year is stumpy in comparison to the requirement. The actual stipulation is more than $20 million US dollar but the assistance covered only 27.4% of original demand which is not enough to increase services for the Rohingyas and their children. The reason could be the COVID-19 has stricken the global economy and GDP of the majority of the donor courtiers' including host country.
However, if we deeply think, those ill-fated children are already detached from the outside world and corona pandemic has severely increased the level of isolation and created a stumbling block in receiving proper treatment. In this untoward situation, while many wealthy nations started recovering the adverse economic impact of COVID-19, may spread their hand with their highest consideration to share the burden and responsibility with Bangladesh to support Rohingya children enjoying their rights and to fight pandemics. Also, proper planning for the “emergencies between emergencies” should be prepared for Rohingya children in line with child rights policy so that all the children may enjoy the same rights whatever the situation is.
Writer: Laboni Khatun, M. Phil Researcher, Department of Sociology, University of Dhaka
E-mail: [email protected]
BDST: 1850 HRS, NOV 22, 2020