Save the Children Statement: 'Rohingya Families Risk Death or Injury, All for a Better Life'

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (April 16, 2020)—Following reports of the rescue of a boat with hundreds of Rohingya people that had been drifting at sea for two months, 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 organizations—all for a chance at a better life.

“Rohingya children are some of the most marginalized 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 neighboring 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 fulfill 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.”

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Since our founding more than 100 years ago, we’ve changed the lives of more than 1 billion children. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.


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