• Friday, Nov 15, 2019
  • Last Update : 07:09 pm

Child protection in Rohingya camps still a priority in UN Joint Response Plan for 2019

  • Published at 07:29 pm February 16th, 2019
Rohingya children are living in squalid, cramped refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar with very limited access to basic human rights <b>Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune</b>
Rohingya children are living in squalid, cramped refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar with very limited access to basic human rights Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

UN aid agencies and NGO partners appealed for raising US$920 million for the JRP 2019, to meet the massive needs of over 900,000 Rohingyas from Myanmar and over 330,000 vulnerable Bangladeshis in host communities

Strengthening of the child protection system in Rohingya camps will remain a priority in the UN Joint Response Plan (JRP) 2019, as children in the camps still face serious protection risks, officials said on Saturday.

The protection risks include psychosocial distress, neglect, abuse, separation from caregivers, sexual violence, child marriage and labour.

The JRP 2019, launched in Geneva on Friday, contains a dedicated objective for the strengthening of the child protection system in the camps to prevent such risks, according to an official in Dhaka. 

Steps to strengthen the child protection system will be taken in coordination with the Department of Social Services (DSS), and will include improvement to the quality of government-led service delivery, the official added.

Children represent 55 %of all Rohingyas in the camps, and 343,206 are in need of immediate child protection assistance, according to the JRP.

Rohingya children are experiencing high levels of distress after witnessing extreme violence in Myanmar, as well as being exposed to continued stressful living conditions.

Around 6,100 unaccompanied and separated children have been registered and are at heightened risk of child trafficking, abuse and exploitation in the camps as of October 2018, the JRP reveals.

Girls, who represent a larger proportion (57%) of this vulnerable group, are particularly at risk of child marriage, sexual exploitation, abuse and neglect.

There remains a high need for robust family-based alternative care arrangements for unaccompanied and separated children, as well as family tracing, reunification and the provision of support to foster care families, it added.

While much has been achieved, the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh has not fully stabilised, according to co-chairs of the strategic executive group - UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Mia Seppo, Representative of UNHCR in Bangladesh Steven Corliss, and IOM Bangladesh Chief of Mission Giorgi Gigauri.

The JRP 2019 will be the vehicle for mobilizing critically needed support for the humanitarian response for the Rohingyas, they added.

The JRP sets out a comprehensive program shaped around three strategic objectives - deliver protection, provide life-saving assistance and foster social cohesion.

Priorities for the current year include supporting strengthened government leadership and accountability, including in the camps, and the effective participation of the Rohingya community in decisions affecting their lives.

In 2019, the government of Bangladesh and UNHCR will accelerate the ongoing joint verification exercise that will register the Rohingyas and provide them with individual documentation, in many cases for the first time.

More accurate data, disaggregated by age, sex, gender and other diversity factors, will facilitate planning and targeting of assistance and services, while biometric enrolment will strengthen the integrity of delivery.

UN aid agencies and NGO partners appealed for raising US$920 million for the JRP 2019, to meet the massive needs of over 900,000 Rohingyas from Myanmar and over 330,000 vulnerable Bangladeshis in host communities.

The JRP 2018 was funded at 69%, with US$655 million received against US$950 million requested, said UNHCR

The 2019 JRP is the third joint humanitarian appeal and builds on achievements made thus far in order to further stabilise the situation of Rohingyas.

Rapid and effective humanitarian action under the leadership of the Government of Bangladesh has saved many lives since August 2017, met critical needs, and protected nearly one million Rohingyas, according to UN agencies.