Athena Rayburn, Save the Children’s Rohingya Response Advocacy Manager, said:
“Save the Children is horrified to hear reports of the many starving Rohingya women and children rescued by the Bangladeshi authorities after two months at sea, and saddened by reports that dozens may have died on-board.
“Rohingya families can’t see an end to their plight and are increasingly willing to risk death or injury by making perilous journeys at sea in overcrowded, unsafe boats – often at the mercy of traffickers and criminal organisations – all for a chance at a better life.
“Rohingya children are some of the most marginalised on the planet. Following decades of discrimination and rights abuses, more than 700,000 Rohingya were forced to flee their homes in Myanmar in 2017 into neighbouring Bangladesh. While safe from the brutal violence that forced them to leave Myanmar, the camps in Bangladesh are no place for a child. Access to education and other essential services is limited, and children are at risk of violence, exploitation and abuse. To make matters worse, the camps are now facing the prospect of a COVID-19 outbreak, with potentially devastating consequences.
“Children have the right to be free from harm, to learn, and to fulfil their hopes and dreams. Until steps are taken in Myanmar to address the root causes of the current crisis, leading to a voluntary and dignified return of refugees to their homes and villages, Rohingya families will continue to be driven to take desperate measures they think will give their children the best possible future.”
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