Women and children are estimated to make up 80% of the newly arrived refugees, and ActionAid is focussed on ensuring protection of their rights in the camps in Cox’s Bazar, where the organisation is distributing emergency food and relief items including rice and lentils, and clean drinking water.
ActionAid Australia’s Executive Director, Michelle Higelin, said:
“We are especially concerned about the violence that women and girls may have experienced as they fled across the border, and the heightened risk of violence in overcrowded camps. Protection of their rights and ensuring immediate measures are put in place to ensure women’s safety and security is critical in this crisis.”
“Our team on the ground in Bangladesh has reported that women and girls in the camps in Cox’s Bazar have no access to washrooms and no privacy to relieve themselves, and breastfeeding mothers have no space to care for their children with dignity.”
“Many women have given birth in the refugee camps after walking for days to escape the violence and are in urgent need of medical attention, medicine, food, clean water, and post-natal care. They are sleeping on the side of the road, with nothing but the clothes on their backs.”
Michelle Higelin said:
“Alongside the distribution of food, clean drinking water and emergency shelter, ActionAid will be distributing hygiene kits with sanitary towels, soap, clean underwear and disinfectant to support women to rebuild their dignity and prevent the spread of waterborne diseases.”
“We are urging the Australian community to step up and stand with the Rohingya people during this large scale humanitarian crisis. Funding is urgently needed to help us reach more people and ensure women’s rights are protected throughout the emergency.”
All funds raised will provide immediate assistance and protection to Rohingya women and girls, which is part of ActionAid’s commitment to scaling up resources for women in crisis response under its Arise Fund.
Donations can be made at www.actionaid.org/australia