Author and artist: Sami Ahmed
● Top UN court sets deadline for initial pleadings in Rohingya genocide case
● Bangladesh grants Rohingya children access to formal education
● Chinese coronavirus death toll surpasses 130
● In Mideast peace proposal, Trump backs Israel, offers limited Palestinian state
● Major quake hits Caribbean, triggering evacuations
● Taliban repels Afghan forces' bid to reach US plane crash site
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Report: Mohammed Idris Abdullah (stringer)
Topic: A volunteer with the development group BRAC (Building Resources Across Communities) works with men and boys to prevent sexual gender-based violence.
Translation summary: In Bangladesh, gender-based violence is “one of the most prevalent forms of human rights violations against women and girls,” the United Nations Population Fund says. It’s all too common in Rohingya refugee camps, where females are restricted by patriarchal attitudes and vulnerable to sexual exploitation.
In Kutupalong’s Camp 7, on the eastern border, BRAC and four other groups are trying to prevent such violence. Among its 40,000 residents, more than half (52%) are female, but men and boys also are vulnerable.
Sayed Alam, 35, works with men and boys, raising their awareness to prevent sexual and gender-based violence. He arranges meetings to discourage domestic violence, child marriage, polygamy and dowry systems, instead promoting healthy family relationships.
Interviewed at his home, Alam pointed out that the camp is overcrowded, poorly lit and congested. He said some Rohingyas are marrying off their young daughters to men in India and Malaysia, in the belief that the girls won’t have other marriage opportunities or that they will be safer outside a camp. He also said polygamy is a source of some tension – though Islamic jurisprudence allows a man to take up to four wives – because men are more scarce in the community. (Alam came to the camp after August 2017 from Taung Pyo village in Myanmar’s Maungdaw township.)
Alam said that when he questioned whether such practices were fair to women and girls, the men and boys in his BRAC awareness group resisted at first. They didn’t want to hear such talk. So, BRAC organized volleyball, basketball and other sports to engage them. Then they agreed to come to several small-group sessions to discuss. Alam said he thinks they’re heeding the message, and he hopes violence is declining.
2-way report: Mohammed Rukon Uddin (stringer)
Topic: A 65-year-old refugee appreciates the relative safety of camp life but longs for his Myanmar home.
Translation summary: Nur Mohammad, 65, lives in Kutupalong Camp 2 D4. Here in Bangladesh, he and his family found refuge from violence – but he deeply misses his country. “Our eyes burst into tears” when looking east toward Myanmar, he said. “We left behind so many things and memories.” He’s grateful to Bangladesh, where he, as a Muslim, can practice religion and “we don’t have to be afraid of military or police coming to kill us at night.”
[UN, rights groups and others have found evidence of atrocities, supporting many witness accounts blaming security forces for attacks. In August 2017, Myanmar’s military launched a violent “clearance operation” that it said was intended to rout terrorists.]
“Only God can only make a solution” for Rohingyas’ persecution and displacement, Mohammad said. Then he suggested that the case being heard in the International Court of Justice, where Myanmar’s government is accused of attempting genocide against Rohingyas, might help.