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Safety of Rohingya children must be guaranteed, before return to Myanmar – UNICEF

Safety of Rohingya children must be guaranteed, before return to Myanmar – UNICEF

India Blooms News Service | | 26 Jan 2018, 08:42 am

New York, Jan 26 (JEN): Improved security and unimpeded humanitarian access in Myanmar are essential before Rohingya children can be returned from Bangladesh, a senior official of the United Nations children's agency has said.

“Some 58 per cent of the refugees are children, many of whom are still traumatized by their experiences of violence,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth on Wednesday, speaking from the Kutapalong refugee camp in southern Bangladesh.

“It is critical that their rights and needs in terms of protection and aid are front and centre in any agreement to return families to Myanmar. Return of refugees to Myanmar must be voluntary, safe and dignified,” he added.

The vast Kutupalong camp shelters many of the 688,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled across the border from Myanmar's Rakhine State following an outbreak of violence there in late August last year. More than half of the refugees are children.

“In just the last few days we have heard reports of fires and shooting in villages across the border. Until the safety and wellbeing of any child returning to Myanmar can be guaranteed, talk of repatriation is premature,” he stressed, while praising the leadership of Bangladesh for supporting these desperate people and helping avoid “the worst potential consequences of this human calamity.”

However, Forsyth pointed out that with the rainy season approaching, there were still huge challenges ahead.

“Conditions in the camps here are undoubtedly harsh – the overcrowding, the shortages of clean water, sanitation, health care and education all carry a particular risk for children.”

Working with partners, UNICEF has dug hundreds of water-bore wells, installed up to 16,000 toilets, helped immunize nearly a million children and adults against cholera, screened 335,000 children for malnutrition, and provided learning for nearly 80,000 children.

Even so, waterborne and other diseases are a constant threat in the overcrowded camps, which need to be urgently decongested to ensure basic facilities reach all inhabitants. Currently, up to 100 people must use a single latrine and water supplies often run short.

More must also be done to protect vulnerable children from traffickers and other dangers and to provide psychosocial care to those who are still traumatized by the experiences that drove them from their homes.

Learning and recreational spaces for children have been expanded rapidly, but still fall well short of the needs. Nearly 220,000 children are

chance to learn, the greater the risk that they will miss out on the chance to build a future for currently deprived of an education.

“The longer these children remain without the themselves and their families,” Forsyth warned.

Photo: UNICEF/Brown

 

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm