Saturday, 26 May, 2018

16,000 babies born in Rohingya camps in Bangladesh in 9 months

18 May 2018, 00:45 ( 8 days ago)

DF-Xinhua Report by William M. Reilly
Rohingya refugees who were forced to leave their country by Myanmar security forces arrived in Bangladesh to save their lives. Photo Mostafizur Rahman.

More than 16,000 babies have been born in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh in the nine-months since violence forced them to flee their homes in Myanmar, a UN spokesman said on Thursday.

"More than 60 Rohingya babies are born in Bangladesh refugee camps every day," said Deputy UN spokesman Farhan Haq. "That's more than 16,000 babies in the nine months since a spike in violence in Rakhine State."

As new waves of violence started in Rakhine State in late August last year, there were widespread reports of rape and sexual violence against women and girls, Haq said.

"Women and children who are survivors of sexual violence are among the most vulnerable and marginalized of the more than 800,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar (in southernmost Bangladesh), requiring specialized support and women and girls may not come forward due to the risk of stigmatization and additional persecution," he said.

"Working with partners, UNICEF (The United Nations Children's Fund) is providing antenatal and post-natal care to mothers and their babies," the spokesman said. "It mobilized some 250 community volunteers to make sure that a growing number of women visit the health care facilities before and after giving birth."

It is also advocating for proper, legal birth registration for newborns, concerned that without this, babies will have trouble accessing the vital basic services they are entitled to.

Of all babies born in the camps since September, only about 3,000 -- or 1 in 5 -- were delivered in health facilities, the Children's Agency said. Estimates suggest that only 18 percent of mothers currently give birth in health centers.

UNICEF says it has also mobilized almost 250 community volunteers to make sure that a growing number of women visit the health care facilities before and after giving birth.

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