One in two Rohingya orphaned by violence, shock report shows

One in two Rohingya orphaned by violence, shock report shows
A Rohingya refugee child looks on in the Kutupalong camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, on Aug. 24, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 26 August 2018

One in two Rohingya orphaned by violence, shock report shows

One in two Rohingya orphaned by violence, shock report shows
  • More than 6,000 unaccompanied and separated Rohingya children live in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps, a recent study revealed
  • In the past year, 700,000 Rohingya, including at least 370,000 children, have arrived in Cox’s Bazar

DHAKA: One in two Rohingya children who fled to Bangladesh without their parents was left orphaned by the brutal violence, according to Save the Children.
The international charity based its claim on research released to mark the first anniversary of the Rohingya exodus to Bangladesh.
According to the Bangladesh-based Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), more than 6,000 unaccompanied and separated Rohingya children are living in Cox’s Bazar refugee camps, where they face crippling food shortages, and are at risk of exploitation and abuse.
The charity’s study, involving 139 unaccompanied and separated Rohingya children, is the largest of its type in Cox’s Bazar since the brutal military crackdown in Myanmar a year ago.
Child protection workers in the camps previously had thought most of these children had simply lost contact with parents or carers in the chaos of their journey to Bangladesh, but the research suggests otherwise.
Seventy percent of children covered by the study were separated from parents or main carers by violent attacks, while 63 percent were separated during a direct assault on their village and 9 percent as their family attempted to flee to Bangladesh.
Half said their parents or main carers had been killed in the attacks, leaving them orphaned, with many witnessing scenes of brutal violence.
The shocking outcome of the survey created huge concern among aid workers and authorities in Bangladesh.
Mark Pierce, Save the Children’s country director in Bangladesh, warned the orphaned children were vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, neglect and violence. They were also more likely to be forced into child marriage, underage labor and human trafficking.
“To mitigate these risks, on top of our case management program, we also run child-friendly spaces, where children can go to play and make friends, and just be like children should be. Our staff are also able to identify children showing particular signs of distress — maybe they are aggressive, withdrawn or clingy — and provide them with care and support,” Pierce told Arab News.
To protect these orphans, Save the Children is running awareness sessions with community leaders, parents and children.
“We have established strong community-based networks such as child protection committees and adolescent groups to ensure at-risk children are referred to the appropriate services,” he said.
Pierce urged the international community to provide more financial support to ensure a sustainable future for these orphans.
“The international community must step up and find a long-lasting solution to the crisis that allows for the safe, dignified and voluntary repatriation of Rohingya refugees, which respects the basic rights of children and their families and is underpinned by international law,” he said.
Many of these orphans are now living with relatives or neighbors. The Bangladesh government has taken a special initiative to ease the burden on foster parents.
“Since last June, each foster family receives $25 per month in aid from Bangladesh government,” Nazimuddin, assistant director of the Social Service Department of Cox’s Bazar, told Arab News.
Almost 3,000 orphan children benefited from the aid program.
Bangladesh planned to extend the safety network for Rohingya orphans, Nazimuddin said.
“We plan to increase the number of beneficiaries of this program, bringing about 13,000-16,000 Rohingya orphans under this social safety umbrella,” he said.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingya have arrived in Cox’s Bazar, including at least 370,000 children, following a brutal military crackdown after Myanmar police border posts were attacked.


Russia detains dozens of Navalny supporters at anti-Putin protests

Russia detains dozens of Navalny supporters at anti-Putin protests
Updated 23 January 2021

Russia detains dozens of Navalny supporters at anti-Putin protests

Russia detains dozens of Navalny supporters at anti-Putin protests
  • The first protests took place in the Far East and Siberia
  • Authorities vowed a tough crackdown with police saying unsanctioned public events would be “immediately suppressed”

MOSCOW: Russian police detained dozens of protesters on Saturday as supporters of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny took to the streets following his call to protest against President Vladimir Putin’s rule.
Putin’s most vocal domestic critic called for mass rallies after surviving a near-fatal poisoning with a Novichok nerve agent and returning to Moscow last weekend following months of treatment in Germany. He was arrested at Sheremetyevo Airport and jailed.
The rallies — planned for dozens of cities across Russia — are expected to be a major test of the opposition’s ability to mobilize despite the increasing Kremlin pressure on critics and the coronavirus pandemic.
The first protests took place in the Far East and Siberia including Vladivostok, Khabarovsk and Chita where several thousand took to the streets, Navalny supporters said.
OVD Info, which monitors detentions at opposition rallies, said around 50 people were detained in 10 cities.
Authorities vowed a tough crackdown with police saying unsanctioned public events would be “immediately suppressed.”
In Moscow, which usually mobilizes the largest rallies, protesters plan to meet in the central Pushkin Square at 2:00 p.m. (1100 GMT) and then march toward the Kremlin.

On the eve of the rallies, Navalny, who is being held in Moscow’s high-security Matrosskaya Tishina jail, thanked his supporters.
“I know perfectly well that there are lots of good people outside of my prison’s walls and help will come,” he said on Friday.
Navalny’s wife Yulia said she would join the protest in Moscow. “For myself, for him, for our children, for the values and the ideals that we share,” she said on Instagram.
Ahead of the demonstrations several key Navalny aides were taken into police custody for violating protest laws and handed short jail sentences to keep them away from the rallies.
The Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes, said Friday it launched a criminal probe into the calls for unauthorized protests.
A hastily organized court on Monday jailed Navalny for 30 days, and his supporters fear that authorities are preparing to sentence him to a long prison term to silence him.
Navalny’s team this week released an investigation into an opulent Black Sea property allegedly owned by Putin.
The “Putin’s palace” report alleges the Russian leader owns a 17,691 square meter mansion that sits on a property 39 times the size of Monaco and features a casino along with a theater and a hookah lounge complete with a pole-dancing stage.
The two-hour video report had been viewed more than 65 million times since Tuesday, becoming the Kremlin critic’s most-watched YouTube investigation.
The Kremlin has denied the property belongs to Putin.
Many Russians took to social media — including video sharing app TikTok hugely popular with teens — to voice support and urge a large turnout on Saturday.
A hashtag demanding freedom for Navalny was trending on TikTok as Russians flooded the Chinese app with thousands of videos.
Russia’s media watchdog warned online platforms against encouraging minors to participate in the rallies or risk hefty fines.
The watchdog said on Friday that media platforms, including TikTok, YouTube and Instagram, removed content at its request.
Russia’s most popular social network VKontakte blocked groups created to coordinate the protests in different cities.
But a number of public figures — including those who usually steer clear of politics — have spoken out in Navalny’s support.
Navalny, 44, rose to prominence a decade ago and has become the central figure of Russia’s opposition movement, leading large-scale street protests against corruption and electoral fraud.
His arrest drew widespread Western condemnation, with the United States, the European Union, France and Canada all calling for his release.