Unicef has called for urgent actions in four key areas to find a solution to Rohingya crisis asking Myanmar to fully implement the Kofi Annan Commission’s recommendations.
In the newly released report – Outcast and Desperate: Rohingya refugee children face a perilous future – the UN body identified humanitarian aid, protection of children and humanitarian access, voluntary returns and addressing root causes as four key areas.
On addressing root causes, Unicef said a long-term solution to the crisis is also needed and must address the issues of statelessness and discrimination.
The recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State offer a long-term way forward towards the establishment of a safe, stable and socially inclusive environment for all communities.
“The government of Myanmar should fully implement the Commission’s recommendations,” said the Unicef report a copy of which UNB obtained on Friday.
The report said Rohingya children and families have the right of a voluntary, safe and dignified return to Myanmar with support from authorities in Myanmar and Bangladesh, as well as the international community.
“This process should include: allowing families to return to their location of origin, development assistance to the villages of returnees, implementation of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State recommendations and the registration of refugees in Bangladesh using internationally accepted standards,” said the report 32-page long report.
Unicef said it is vital that the international community respond urgently and fully to the requirements of the updated Bangladesh Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) released by the UN and humanitarian agencies for $434 million.
As part of this response, there is an urgent need to provide refugee children with education, counselling, healthcare and other support services to help them overcome all they have endured, it said.
On October 2, Unicef launched a US$76.1 million appeal for its emergency humanitarian response to the Rohingya crisis in southern Bangladesh.
According to the report, to date, the appeal is only 7 per cent funded.
The appeal covered the immediate needs of newly arrived Rohingya children, as well as those who arrived before the recent influx, and children from vulnerable host communities – 720,000 children in all.
And across the border in Myanmar, Unicef urgently needs an additional $13 million to close critical funding gaps that are impacting the organization’s ability to reach vulnerable children, including displaced Rohingya children.
Women and children fleeing Myanmar’s Rakhine state into Bangladesh have reported experiencing or witnessing brutal acts of violence – accounts which point to grave human rights violations.
The first and most important step in ending the crises in both Myanmar and over the border in Bangladesh is to stop atrocities against civilians.
Humanitarian actors must have immediate and unfettered access to all children affected by the violence in Rakhine state.
Authorities in Myanmar are responsible for protecting the rights of all children and meeting the critical humanitarian needs of Rohingya children in Rakhine state, where they continue to face threats, persecution, and displacement.
The Unicef report said it is also essential that the government of Bangladesh maintains its critical leadership role in responding to the refugee crisis for as long as necessary.
This includes keeping its borders open to Rohingya refugees and recognizing their refugee status, extending international protection to refugee children, and guaranteeing that children born to Rohingya communities residing temporarily in Bangladesh have their births registered.
The Unicef observed that there is a rapidly growing humanitarian crisis that cries out for more attention.
Since August 25, more than half a million Rohingya refugees have fled horrific violence in Myanmar and crossed the border into Bangladesh.
Tens of thousands are living in tents and other temporary shelters, in danger of disease, and facing uncertain futures.
Almost 60 per cent of the refugees are children – and 21 per cent of children under five years of age are suffering from malnutrition. Many have become separated from their families or fled on their own.
“All have suffered tremendous loss,” said the Unicef report.