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Chattogram Correspondent
A Spanish humanitarian team commented that the situation in Rohingya refugee camp has improved significantly over the past year under the leadership of Bangladesh government.
The team also believes the international community has more to do for the socio-economic development of Rohingya women and children.
From 17-18 October 2018, a representative of the Humanitarian Office of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), Ms Ana Bernardo Rodríguez, and the Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Spain in Dhaka, Ms Alejandra López García, visited various projects in the Rohingya refugee camps, including those funded by the Government of Spain.
The Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) welcomed them and noted that their presence demonstrates an on-going commitment to the welfare of the Rohingya refugees and the Bangladeshi host community.
ISCG in Cox’s Bazar issued a press release on Monday on Spanish humanitarian team visit.
“One year after the initial large scale influx, it is important that representatives of the international community has the chance to see first-hand what the humanitarian response has achieved under the leadership of the government. Given that 80 percent of the refugees are women and children, we want to highlight the continued needs for funds to allow the restoration of a normal life,” said the ISCG Senior Coordinator Annika Sandlund.
During a full two-day visit organized by the ISCG, the Spanish delegation met with the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) and saw first-hand the difficult condition under which the refugees are living and services provided to them in Kutupalong, Goyalmara and Unchiprang. The delegation visited key humanitarian aid projects including the UNHCR Transit Centre; MSF Kutupalong Hospital, Goyalmara Mother and Child Care Hospital, and Unchiprang Primary Health Centre; Plan International alternative education and child protection in emergencies activities; IOM mental health and psychosocial support, health, youth, shelter, water and sanitation and site management activities.
The delegation had the opportunity to walk through the camps and meet with a cross-section of refugees from the community including new arrivals, children, parents, a youth club, and international and local humanitarian aid workers.
The Spanish delegation’s main objective for the visit was to identify the needs and gaps in the short and medium term. Ms. López García, who had visited the camps a little over a year ago, compared the progress made in the camps to her previous visit. “I was here in September 2017 when the big influx of new arrivals was taking place. You could see only people stranded everywhere, unstable plastic and bamboo shelters, and mud all over. The children didn’t smile,” explained Ms. López García, “Now the situation has much improved thanks to the work of the humanitarian community, the Government of Bangladesh, the host communities, and the Rohingya population. Children smile again.”
Ms. Bernardo Rodríguez advocates for more to be done especially for women and children. She found Rohingya women had gone through a very bad situation in terms of violence and children in need of formal education. She emphasized that the Rohingya people need ways to make a living. The refugees explained their situation in the informal meetings that they need hope for returning to their countries in a dignified way. Meanwhile, they want to be able to stay temporarily in Bangladesh with a proper legal status. Ms. Bernardo Rodríguez stressed the importance to raise awareness of the Rohingya situation in the global community and highlighted the commitment to finding solutions.
The government of Myanmar started a crackdown on Rohingyas by formulating an attack on the army and police camps in northern Rakhine province in August last year. As a result, seven lakh Rohingyas have taken refuge in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar after crossing the border fearing their lives. Currently, around one million Rohingya live in Cox’s Bazar. Rohingya’s Kutupalong Camp is the largest refugee camp in the world.