23rd November 2017
Life-threatening levels of malnutrition have risen dramatically among Rohingya refugee children who are forced to flee persecution in Myanmar and travel to refugee camps in Bangladesh.
They face squalid conditions in these makeshift camps away from their families.
Other threats are poor sanitation and living conditions, leading to various related diseases.
These children may also become victims of sexual abuse, or be sold into slavery and trafficked.
The UN children’s agency says providing nutritious food, proper healthcare and education to those camps has been a growing challenge.
In continuation of the ongoing exodus Pope Francis will meet Rohingya refugees while he is in Bangladesh and the head of Myanmar’s army on a visit to the country, both late additions to his tour of the two countries next week.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke, briefing reporters on the trip, said “a small group of Rohingya refugees” will be present at an inter-religious meeting for peace in Dhaka on the afternoon of Friday, December 1.
Burke said that he also would meet the head of the army, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, on the morning of November 30 in a church residence in Yangon.
The Trump administration also declared on Wednesday that Myanmar’s brutal crackdown on its Rohingya minority constituted “ethnic cleansing,” a long-anticipated designation that will open the door to sanctions against the country’s military commanders and intensify pressure on its civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, who visited Myanmar last week, said that “horrendous atrocities” by Myanmar’s military, security forces and vigilantes had forced “hundreds of thousands of men, women and children to flee their homes” and seek refuge in neighboring Bangladesh.
“After careful and thorough analysis of the facts,” Mr. Tillerson said in a statement, “it is clear that the situation in northern Rakhine State constitutes ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya.”
Despite of ongoing genocidal activites and ongoing exodus the United States, he said, will pursue “targeted sanctions,” most likely against military leaders implicated in the crackdown. But administration officials continued to rule out broader sanctions against Myanmar’s government because they said it could jeopardize the country’s delicate transition to democracy after decades of repressive military rule.
Mr. Tillerson also stopped short of explicitly calling for an international investigation into the atrocities, which disappointed some human rights advocates, though he did call for a “credible, independent investigation.”