Dhaka, Aug 16 (UNB) - The UN children’s agency has issued a new report calling for urgent investment in education and skills development opportunities in and around the vast camps of Cox's Bazar where the majority of Rohingyas live in.
Unicef on Friday said frustration and despair are overwhelming young Rohingyas living in Cox's Bazar.
The report, ‘Beyond Survival: Rohingya Refugee Children in Bangladesh’, marks two years since the arrival of around 745,000 Rohingya civilians fleeing extreme violence in Myanmar.
By June 2019, the report says, the overall education sector had provided non-formal education to 280,000 children aged 4 to 14.
Unicef and its partners have ensured access to learning for 192,000 of those children, enrolled in 2,167 learning centres.
However, this leaves over 25,000 children who are not attending any learning programmes, and an additional 640 learning centres are needed, according to Unicef.
Further, 97 per cent of children aged 15 to 18 years are not attending any type of educational facility, the report said.
“For the Rohingya children and youths, now in Bangladesh, mere survival is not enough,” said Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
“It’s absolutely critical that they’re provided with the quality learning and skill development that they need to guarantee their long-term future.”
More formal teaching and learning materials are being progressively rolled out for younger refugee children studying in camp learning centres.
Unicef and other agencies are calling on the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh to allow the use of national educational resources, for example, curricula, learning and training manuals and assessment methods, to help provide more structured learning for Rohingya children.
“Providing learning and training materials is a huge task and can only be realised with the full backing of a range of partners,” said Fore.
“But the hopes of a generation of children and adolescents are at stake. We cannot afford to fail them.”
The report says without adequate opportunities for learning, adolescents can fall prey to traffickers who offer to smuggle desperate young Rohingya out of Bangladesh, and to drug dealers who operate in the area.
Women and girls face harassment and abuse especially at nighttime.
Unicef said it is supporting the development of youth centres and adolescent clubs in which life skills, psychosocial support, basic literacy and numeracy and vocational skills are provided as part of a comprehensive package.
Nearly 70 such facilities were operational by July 2019 but far more are needed, it said.
“Our aim is to help equip adolescents with the skills they need to deal with many risks they encounter such as trafficking, abuse, and – in the case of girls – early marriage,” said Unicef Bangladesh Representative, Tomoo Hozumi.
“In broader terms, we’re helping this generation of youths build their identity and make them part of the solution to the extremely challenging situation they find themselves in.”
Since 2017, Unicef says, under the leadership of the government of Bangladesh, humanitarian agencies have made substantial progress in strengthening health, nutrition, water and sanitation, education, protection and other basic services.
Examples include the establishment of camp health centres which offer routine medical services for pregnant women and babies around the clock, and the wider provision of chlorinated water to tap-stands through piped networks.
Diarrhea and other waterborne diseases remain a threat, but rates of malnutrition among young children have fallen.
Dhaka, Aug 16 (UNB) - The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Human Rights Office have prioritised efforts to promote and protect environmental and human rights with the signing of a new cooperation agreement.
The new deal was signed on Friday in Geneva as threats to individuals and communities defending their environmental and land rights intensify in many parts of the world.
The heads of the two UN bodies agreed that although more than 150 countries have recognised the human right to a healthy environment in their constitutions, national laws and jurisprudence, or through regional agreements, significantly more work is needed to inform policy-makers, justice institutions and the public on the various ways they can take action to uphold this right.
Strengthened cooperation between UNEP and the UN Human Rights Office will aim to drive better protection of environmental human rights defenders and their families, who frequently face violence – including killings and sexual violence, smear campaigns, and other forms of intimidation.
The partnership will also encourage greater acceptance by leaders and governments of the human right to a healthy environment pursuing efforts toward its global recognition, according to a media release received from Geneva.
It will seek to increase support to national governments to promote human rights-based policies, particularly in terms of sustainable management of natural resources, development planning, and action to combat climate change.
The two organisations will now work more closely to monitor threats against environmental rights defenders; advocate for better protection; urge more effective accountability for perpetrators of violence and intimidation; develop networks of environmental human rights defenders and promote meaningful and informed participation by rights defenders and civil society in environmental decision-making.
UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen said a healthy environment is vital to fulfilling their aspiration to ensure people everywhere live a life of dignity.
"We must curb the emerging trend of intimidation and criminalisation of land and environmental defenders, and the use of anti-protest and anti-terrorism laws to criminalise the exercise of rights that should be constitutionally protected,” Andersen said at the signing in Geneva.
She said UNEP and the UN Human Rights Office are committed to bringing environmental protection closer to the people by assisting state and non-state actors to promote, protect and respect environmental and human rights.
"In doing so, we will move towards a more sustainable and just planet,” she added.
“Our planet is being recklessly destroyed, and we urgently need stronger global partnerships to take action to save it," said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.
Bachelet called on leaders and governments to recognise that climate change and environmental degradation severely undermine the human rights of their people, particularly those in vulnerable situations – including the generations of tomorrow.
“We encourage every State to develop and enforce national legal frameworks which uphold the clear linkages between a healthy environment and the ability to enjoy all other human rights, including the rights to health, water, food – and even the right to life,” she added.
“We also strongly encourage greater recognition that the actions and advocacy of environmental human rights defenders are deeply beneficial to all societies. They must be better protected against the threat of violence and intimidation.”
Reports suggest that more than three defenders were killed across the world every week in 2018.
The latest death toll highlights the ongoing dangers facing those who are defending their environmental and human rights in the mining, logging, and farming sectors as well as other extractive industries.
Kurigram, Aug 16 (UNB) – Police on Friday recovered the decomposed body of a man from a ditch in the municipality area of the town on Friday.
The deceased was identified as Sultan Ali, 50, a resident of Kamarpara area.
Additional Police Superintendent Utpal Roy said Sultan went missing on Wednesday afternoon.
On Friday morning, locals spotted Sultan’s body in the ditch and informed police.
Police recovered the body and sent to Sadar Hospital for autopsy.
Dhaka, Aug 16 (UNB) - National Mourning Day-2019 was observed in Bangladesh Missions abroad on Thursday paying homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, marking the 44the anniversary of his martyrdom.
The Mourning Day’s programmes include hoisting national flag at half-mast, placing wreath at the bust of Bangabandhu, special prayers, reading out of messages, discussion on the life and work of the Father of the Nation and screening of a documentary on Bangabandhu.
A discussion chaired by Bangladesh Ambassador to the USA Mohammad Ziauddin, was held at Bangladesh Embassy in Washington D.C, said a media release on Friday.
It was addressed by recipient of Bangladesh’s “Friends of Liberation War Honour” Dr. David Nalin, Ambassador Husain Haqqani, Director for South and Central Asia at Hudson Institute, cultural personality and film and television director Syed Hasan Imam and Eng. MizanurRahmanMajumder, President, BangabandhuParishad, Washington, D.C.
Ambassador Ziauddin characterized the 15th August as cruelest massacre in human history, saying that the killers not only slain an iconic leader and statesman but also tried to destroy the spirit and objectives of the independent Bangladesh through the assassination of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Ambassador Hussain Hakkani recalled Bangabandhu’s uncompromising struggle for the rights and identity of the Bengali nation and said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib was the greatest leader not only of Bangladesh but in South Asia and beyond.
Earlier in the day, the national flag was hoisted at half-mast by Ambassador Mohammad Ziauddin with the playing of national anthem.
Later, the Ambassador along with the embassy officers and employees placed wreath at the bust of the Father of the Nation on the chancery premises.
The messages from President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and State Minister for Foreign Affairs at the Bangabandhu auditorium.
In Washington, the messages were read out by Md. ShahabuddinPatwari, Minister (Economic), Shamim Ahmad, Minister (Press), Defence Attaché Brig Gen Moinul Hassan and Minister (Political) MdNural Islam respectively.
On Friday, a special prayer was scheduled to be offered during the Jummah prayer at the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. and food will be served among the participants in the prayer.
Dhaka, Aug 16 (UNB) – Noted novelist RiziaRahman died at a hospital in the city on Friday. She was 79.
Rizia breathed her last at Apollo Hospital in the morning, said an official release.
Born on December 28, 1939 in Bhabanipur, Kolkata, she authored many memorable books including 'Bong Theke Bangla (1978)', 'Rokter Okshor (1978)', 'Ghar-Bhanga-Ghar (1974)', 'Uttar Purush (1977)', 'Surja Sabuj Rakta (1980)', 'Ekal Cirokal (1984)', the autobiography 'Nodi Nirobodhi (2011)' and many more.
She received an array of prestigious awards including EkusheyPadak (2019),Bangla Academy Literary Award, Jessore Sahitya Parishad Puraskar, Bangladesh Lekhika Sangha Shwarna Padak and Ananya Sahitya Puraskar.
President Abdul Hamid expressed profound shock and sorrow at the death of the prominent writer.
In a condolence message, the President prayed for salvation of the departed soul and expressed sympathy to the bereaved family members.
State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid expressed deep shock at the demise of the novelist.
In a message, he said, “The death of the renowned novelist is an irreparable loss in the cultural arena of the country and people will remember her for her great contributions in Bangla language and literature.”