Adolescent girls the greatest victims in Cox’s Bazar

June 20, 2018

The adolescent girls are one of the greatest victims in Rohingya humanitarian crisis, according to Orla Murphy, Plan International's country director in Bangladesh.

 

"The cramped and overcrowded conditions -- not only in the camps, but also inside the tiny tents they now call home -- are having a devastating impact on their lives.” Murphy said in press conference adding:

 

In August 2017 almost a million persecuted Rohingya were forced to flee Myanmar and established themselves in neighboring Bangladesh where the issues inside the refugee camps are severe especially, for the minor girls.

 

Fear of violence, Healthcare, Food Insecurity, Access to Clean Water and Hygiene Facilities are few of the issues the Rohingya adolescent girls experience in Cox’s Bazar refugee camps, according to the report of the research conducted in April 2018 with 300 adolescent girls in the refugee camps of Bangladesh.

 

The girls are confined in a refugee shelter to tiny huts measuring just a few square feet, where temperatures soar close to 40° Celsius (104˚ Fahrenheit) each day, unable to go out because of restrictions placed on them by their families for fear of violence.

 

The adolescent girls, in addition, suffer from lack of access to mental health services. Their mothers or older relatives prevent them from asking questions about sex and reproductive.

 

15-year-old Nur Nahar says that in Rohingyan culture, women on their periods are forbidden to go outside or interact with men. They have to sit on old mats and hide when men visit. While Jahida, 17, experiences severe period pain and she has no medication to help her cope.

 

"Many of them have witnessed horrific violence and are in urgent need of assistance, but they cannot access any of the services on offer to help them cope with what they've been through. Instead, they spend almost every hour of every day inside their sweltering tents, where the only activities they have to keep themselves occupied are cooking and cleaning. They long to go to school, to go outside, to make new friends, and to rebuild their lives, but none of these things are possible for them under the current conditions in which they live."

 

Plan International charity wants the aid agencies and governments helping the refugees to "urgently address the needs of safety, education, sanitation, food security and healthcare -- including mental health services -- that Rohingya girls currently lack and have themselves spoken strongly about in the research report."

 

The organization also called for a greater understanding of the cultural dynamics that affect girls.

 

Only 28% percent of respondents attended school, while 22% of the girls aged 15 to 19 were already married and 70% of them already had one child.

 

Being forced to flee their homes and live among people they did not know before heightened the sense of security concerns and led to even greater restrictions of movement, especially for the older girls.

 

The report found that girls of all ages were keen to go to school. It said the factors limiting access include "few female teachers, language issues, security concerns, care responsibilities and household duties, negative attitudes towards girls' education and, in particular, limited freedom of movement."

 

“There is always a shortage of menstrual hygiene products in the Cox's Bazar camps.” 15-year-old Nurankis explains.

 

It said girls repeatedly reported that access to clean water was one of the major challenges that they faced in the camps and warned that "as the monsoon season approaches, the temporary shelters will become untenable and the likely destruction of the makeshift sanitation facilities threatens to contaminate water and spread disease."

 

Most of the girls interviewed said they still didn't have enough to eat.

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