UN warns of “lost generation” of Rohingya children

Hamida, a Rohingya refugee woman, weeps as she holds her 40-day-old son after he died as their boat capsized before arriving on shore in Shah Porir Dwip, Teknaf, Bangladesh, September 14, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 23 August 2018
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UN warns of “lost generation” of Rohingya children

  • The UN estimates that 530,000 to 600,000 stateless Rohingyas remain in Rakhine state, including some 360,000 children
  • The civilian administration of government leader Aung San Suu Kyi defended what it described as a legitimate counter-insurgency operation

GENEVA: The United Nations warned on Thursday of what it described as a lost generation of Muslim Rohingya children, with half a million in refugee camps in Bangladesh facing dangers including disease and floods and those still in Myanmar lacking access to proper education.
One year since 700,000 Rohingyas fled a violent crackdown by Myanmar security forces in Rakhine state, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) gave a bleak assessment of the outlook for children on either side of the border.
“We are talking about risking the loss or the potential loss of a generation of Rohingya children,” UNICEF spokesman Simon Ingram told news conference in Geneva after spending six weeks in the camps in Cox’s Bazar.
“It isn’t just the half a million children or so on the Bangladeshi side of border but it’s also those who are still left behind in Rakhine state, whose access to education is patchy at best and highly limited,” he said.
The UN estimates that 530,000 to 600,000 stateless Rohingyas remain in Rakhine state, including some 360,000 children, he said. The UN has limited access there.
The Rohingya, who regard themselves as native to Rakhine state, are widely considered as interlopers by Myanmar’s Buddhist majority and are denied citizenship.
Myanmar’s military launched the crackdown in northern Rakhine a year ago in response to militant attacks. The civilian administration of government leader Aung San Suu Kyi defended what it described as a legitimate counter-insurgency operation.
The administration has said it is ready to accept back refugees. Suu Kyi said on Tuesday spaces have been mapped out for the resettlement of people who fled.
Ingram said the prospects for their return to Myanmar anytime soon were bleak, despite a voluntary repatriation agreement signed by the Yangon government and UN agencies in June. He said conditions in Rakhine remained unsafe.
UNICEF said it was expanding education programs in the camps in Bangladesh, currently for children up to the age of 14, to try to meet the needs of older children.


Pakistan reopens airspace to civil aviation after India standoff

Updated 16 July 2019
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Pakistan reopens airspace to civil aviation after India standoff

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan opened its airspace to civil aviation on Tuesday, following months of restrictions imposed in the wake of a standoff with neighboring India.
“With immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (Air Traffic Service) routes,” according to a so-called Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) published on the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority’s website.
The move by Pakistan, which lies in the middle of a vital aviation corridor, offers a welcome break for international airlines after the airspace restrictions affected hundreds of commercial and cargo flights each day, adding to flight time for passengers and fuel costs for airlines.
India’s ministry of civil aviation said that after the lifting of the NOTAMS, there were no further restrictions on airspace in either country.
“Flights have started using the closed air routes, bringing a significant relief for airlines,” it said.
Pakistan closed its airspace in February after an attack by a Pakistan-based militant group in Indian-controlled Kashmir led to an armed standoff between the two nuclear-armed powers.
Both countries carried out aerial attacks over the other’s territory and warplanes fought a brief dogfight over the skies of the disputed Kashmir region during which an Indian fighter jet was shot down.
Partial operations at Pakistani airports resumed once the immediate crisis passed but restrictions continued to affect many international carriers using Pakistani airspace.
Pakistan’s announcement came hours after United Airlines Holdings Inc. said it was extending the suspension of its flights from the United States to Delhi and Mumbai in India until Oct. 26, citing continued restrictions of Pakistani airspace.