Southeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

4 - Young Rohingya Refugees: Risks and Safety in Bangladesh

Saturday, July 7
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Cypress, New Building

Violence directed at Rohingya refugees and asylum-seekers have arrived in Bangladesh from Myanmar in waves since the 1970s. In Myanmar, the Rohingyas are denied citizenship and treated as illegal migrants from Bangladesh. But in Bangladesh also they are unwanted - leaving them persecuted, impoverished and effectively stateless. Bangladesh is one of the world's most densely populated countries, has long complained that its congested urban areas and villages cannot cope with the burden of Rohingya refugees pouring into the country. About 10 years ago, Bangladesh quietly adopted a policy to push the refugees back to Myanmar, yet the Rohingyas have consistently managed to return, slipping through the porous border, usually by river crossings and the worst influx is about 610,000 Rohingyas since August 25. Almost 60% of these new refugees are children below the age of 18, among these Rohingya refugees 14,000 are lone children. These unaccompanied children are at particular risk for human trafficking, sexual abuse, child labor and child marriage. It appears that families are selling their children into bonded labor, most commonly in the fish drying industry that dominates the nearest city, providing a fertile hunting ground for traffickers looking for young girls to recruit as maids. The paper will examine how thousands of Rohingya children are at risk of an agonizing death from malnutrition even after reaching the safety of various refugee camps in Bangladesh

Shahana Chowdhury

Kazi Shahid Foundation, India

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