UNICEF: Rohingya children refugees face ‘hell on earth’

Rohingya Muslims, who spent four days in the open after crossing over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, carry their belongings after they were allowed to proceed towards a refugee camp, at Palong Khali, Bangladesh, on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
Updated 20 October 2017
0

UNICEF: Rohingya children refugees face ‘hell on earth’

GENEVA: UNICEF says the children who make up most of the nearly 600,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence in Myanmar are seeing a “hell on earth” in overcrowded, muddy and squalid refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh.
The UN children’s agency has issued a report that documents the plight of children who account for 58 percent of the refugees who have poured into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, over the last eight weeks. Report author Simon Ingram says about one in five children in the area are “acutely malnourished.”
The report comes ahead of a donor conference Monday in Geneva to drum up international funding for the Rohingya.
“Many Rohingya refugee children in Bangladesh have witnessed atrocities in Myanmar no child should ever see, and all have suffered tremendous loss,” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in a statement.
The refugees need clean water, food, sanitation, shelter and vaccines to help head off a possible outbreak of cholera — a potentially deadly water-borne disease.
Ingram also warned of threats posed by human traffickers and others who might exploit children in the refugee areas.
“These children just feel so abandoned, so completely remote, and without a means of finding support or help. In a sense, it’s no surprise that they must truly see this place as a hell on earth,” Ingram told a news conference in Geneva.
The report features harrowing color drawings by some children being cared for by UNICEF and other aid groups who are scrambling to improve living conditions in Cox’s Bazar. Some of the images show helicopter gunships and green-clad men firing on a village or on people, some of whom are spewing blood.
The influx of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar began on Aug. 25 following militant attacks on border guards. Refugees have fled burning villages and provided accounts — like the children’s drawings — of security forces gunning down civilians.
The UN and humanitarian agencies seek $434 million for the Rohingya refugees — about one-sixth of which would go to UNICEF efforts to help children.


British PM Theresa May dealt new Brexit defeat in upper house of parliament

Updated 11 min 35 sec ago
0

British PM Theresa May dealt new Brexit defeat in upper house of parliament

LONDON: Prime Minister Theresa May was dealt a new defeat by Britain’s upper house of parliament on Wednesday over her Brexit plans, this time in a challenge to the government’s push to adopt wide-ranging powers to amend laws.
The defeat is the latest in the House of Lords for May and her Conservative government as parliament debates the EU withdrawal bill which will sever ties with the European Union and pave the way for Britain to leave in March next year.
The vote can be overturned by the lower house, the House of Commons, but underscores the deep divisions over Brexit across parliament and could encourage lawmakers hoping to derail May’s plans to forge a new relationship with the EU.
While many of the defeats were expected, it is the rifts over whether to remain in a customs union with the EU that have taken center stage. A new debate on this is scheduled in the Commons for Thursday, adding to the pressure on May.
After Wednesday’s defeat over plans to adopt the so-called Henry VIII powers, which are named after the 16th century monarch who ruled by proclamation but are seen as a power grab by opposition parties, the government was expected to offer peers some concessions on their more detailed objections.
“This House has a responsibility not to give the executive more power than is necessary,” Lord (Peter) Goldsmith told peers before they voted.
The Lords voted 349-221 in favor of an amendment to change the wording of the bill so that instead of ministers being able to use the Henry VIII powers where they consider it “appropriate,” they would have to prove it was “necessary.”
The government has said it needs the powers to be able to meet a tight deadline to effectively “copy and paste” EU rules and regulations into British law by the time of Brexit.
The defeats, while embarrassing, have so far failed to shake the government, but after being debated in the Lords, the bill will return to the Commons, where lawmakers will decide whether to keep the amendments or overturn them.
Earlier, Brexit minister David Davis told lawmakers he expected parliament to uphold the government’s policy “for good reason,” and again said that Britain would leave the EU’s customs union after Brexit in favor of a new trade agreement.