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August 16, 2022 HealthLaboratoryNews

The evidence gathered to date by the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM), which is outlined in its Annual Report, indicates that sexual and gender-based crimes, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, and crimes against children have been perpetrated by members of the security forces and armed groups.

“Crimes against women and children are amongst the gravest international crimes, but they are also historically underreported and under-investigated,” said Nicholas Koumjian, Head of the Mechanism.

Deep dive collection

Since starting operations three years ago, IIMM has collected more than three million pieces of information from almost 200 sources, according to the report.

ALSO READ THIS: BACHELET ASSURES UN’S EFFORTS TO ENSURE SAFE RETURN OF ROHINGYAS TO MYANMAR

These include interview statements, documentation, videos, photographs, geospatial imagery and social media material.

The report reveals thatchildren in Myanmar have been tortured, conscripted and arbitrarily detained, including as proxies for their parents.

“Our team has dedicated expertise to ensure targeted outreach and investigations so that these crimes can ultimately be prosecuted,” said Mr. Koumjian.

‘Widespread’ violations

According to the publication, “there are ample indications that since the military takeover in February 2021, crimes have been committed in Myanmar on a scale and in a manner that constitutes a widespread and systematic attack against a civilian population” and the nature of potential criminality is also expanding.

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August 15, 2022 HealthLaboratoryNews

Acknowledging Bangladesh’s great difficulty in dealing with the Rohingya crisis, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Sunday assured the UN’s continued efforts to realize safe and voluntary return of the Rohingyas to Myanmar.

She made the assurance when Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said that protracted stay of the displaced Rohingyas in Bangladesh bears the risk of the spread of radicalism, transnational crimes and thus may hamper regional stability.

High Commissioner Bachelet, appreciating Bangladesh’s humanitarian gesture towards the Rohingyas, underscored the need for their education through fully operationalizing the learning centres in the camps.

ALSO READ THIS: UN RIGHTS CHIEF TO VISIT ROHINGYA CAMPS IN BANGLADESH

Momen urged the high commissioner to use her good office to effectively engage with Myanmar and repatriate the forcibly displaced Rohingyas to Myanmar.

He recalled that the government took good care of the displaced Rohigyas during the pandemic by providing vaccines. He urged the UN system, including UNDP, to undertake projects in Rakhine to create a conducive environment for the return of the Rohingyas. He underscored that Bangladesh, as a developing country, strongly promotes the Right to Development.

She appreciated Bangladesh’s regular reporting to human rights treaty bodies, and suggested a mechanism for further streamlining this.

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August 14, 2022 HealthLaboratoryNews

Michelle Bachelet is to make the first visit by a UN rights chief to Bangladesh next week, including to the sprawling refugee camps home to nearly a million Rohingyas.

Bachelet’s office announced Friday that the trip from Sunday to Wednesday was at the Dhaka government’s invitation.

It will be one of the former Chilean president’s final acts as the United Nations high commissioner for human rights before her four-year term expires at the end of the month.

During her visit to the capital Dhaka, the UN rights chief is scheduled to meet with prime minister Sheikh Hasina and other ministers.

“The high commissioner will also travel to Cox’s Bazar where she will be able to visit camps housing Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and meet with refugees, officials and non-governmental organisations,” her office said in a statement.

ALSO READ THIS: MYANMAR JUNTA CHIEF AMONG KEY SUSPECTS IDENTIFIED IN ROHINGYA GENOCIDE CASE

The visit comes ahead of the fifth anniversary this month of the Rohingya exodus into the southeastern tip of neighbouring Bangladesh.

The camps house nearly one million Rohingya refugees that fled a military offensive in Myanmar.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya left Rakhine State in August 2017 after the crackdown, which the UN is investigating over genocide charges.

Bangladeshi authorities have become increasingly impatient about hosting the refugees while criticising the rest of the world for not providing more assistance.

Bangladesh bans the 920,000 mostly Muslim Rohingya refugees from leaving camps surrounded by barbed wire.

The Rohingya are loathed by many in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, who see them as illegal immigrants and refer to them as “Bengali”.

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August 11, 2022 HealthLaboratoryNews

Some 20 key suspects, including junta chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and senior Myanmar military generals, have been identified as being responsible for a clearance campaign against the Rohingya ethnic minority in Rakhine State that is now the subject of a genocide case at the United Nations (UN) highest court.

The investigation by the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA), an independent war crimes investigator, also reveals that the Myanmar military planned the brutal purge of the Rohingya years in advance. 

Its execution in 2017 forced over 700,000 Rohingya to flee to neighboring Bangladesh. Those who fled said that the Rohingya were subjected to extrajudicial killings, rapes and arson attacks by security forces. UN investigators said that the operation had “genocidal intent”. 

ALSO READ THIS: BANGLADESH ASKS CHINA FOR HELP IN REPATRIATING ROHINGYA REFUGEES

In its report released last Thursday, the CIJA said that during its four-year investigation it focused on looking for evidence of high-level criminal responsibility so that the perpetrators can be held accountable before the UN court in The Hague, the capital of the Netherlands.

“The key with a complex international criminal investigation isn’t to establish the crimes, but establishing the individual criminal responsibility for those crimes. We’re not interested in the low-level perpetrators. We’re interested in the generals, the leading politicians who initiated this criminal operation,” said Bill Wiley, Executive Director of the CIJA, in the report.

The report named the military’s chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Major General Maung Maung Soe, chief of the military’s Western Command from 2016 to 2017, and Brigadier General Thura San Lwin, chief of the Border Guard Police (BGP), as being among 20 high level suspects responsible for the clearance operation that is the subject of the genocide case at the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague.

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August 10, 2022 HealthLaboratoryNews

Bangladesh has sought cooperation from China to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar during a visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

China had used its influence in Myanmar to broker a November 2017 agreement to repatriate about 700,000 Rohingya who fled persecution in Myanmar in August that year.

Despite attempts to send them back, the refugees refused, fearing danger in Myanmar, which was exacerbated by the military takeover last year.

Wang arrived in Dhaka on Saturday and met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen. They discussed bilateral and global issues before his departure on Sunday, said Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh’s junior minister for foreign affairs.

ALSO READ THIS: ENSURING SAFE DELIVERIES FOR PREGNANT ROHINGYA REFUGEE WOMEN

Bangladesh has strong relations with China, which is a major trade partner mostly for raw materials. But maintaining close ties with Beijing is challenging for Bangladesh, which also balances diplomatic and trade relationships with India and the United States, China’s main rivals.

More than 500 Chinese companies are active in Bangladesh. China is involved in the country’s all major infrastructure projects such as seaports, a river tunnel and highways, and helped build its largest bridge over the River Padma at a cost of $3.6bn.

Amid recent tensions between China and Taiwan, Bangladesh issued a statement reiterating its support for the “one-China” policy.

After winning elections in 2008, Hasina’s administration closed the Taiwanese business representative office in Dhaka in response to a request from China, and since then China has increased its engagement in Bangladesh.

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August 6, 2022 HealthLaboratoryNews

Childbirth is often an uneventful in Kutupalong, the world’s largest refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. New mothers don’t expect much celebration, let alone being showered with gifts.

For Nurjahan, a Rohingya refugee in Cox’s Bazar, the story is different. When she gave birth to her daughter, she was surprised to receive a large box of items essential for a mother and her newborn.

The baby was born at a Primary Healthcare Centre run by Partners in Health and Development with UNICEF support.

“I never received a gift for giving birth to a child,” says the mother of five after opening the mama-baby Kit from UNICEF.

ALSO READ THIS: IMPROVING THE SURVIVAL AND WELL-BEING OF NEW-BORNS IN THE ROHINGYA REFUGEE CAMPS IN BANGLADESH

The kit contains a baby carrier, a breastfeeding cloth, sanitary pads, a mosquito net, a warm outfit complete with socks and a cap for the newborn, bath towels and bars of soap.

The 28-year-old woman came to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh in 2017, fleeing a crackdown on the Rohingya in Myanmar. Nearly one million Rohingya refugees now live in congested camps in the district.

Improving maternal and newborn healthcare in the densely populated camps has been a priority for UNICEF and others. Thanks to the support received from King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KS Relief), the babies born in the health facilities like this one are receiving a kit for themselves and their mothers.

The items in the mama-baby kit were put together to specifically cater to the needs of the new mothers in the camps.

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August 4, 2022 HealthLaboratoryNews

“I had been experiencing cramps since midnight and around 3 am. I called the Community Health Worker Jaheda to take me to the Camp 17 healthcare centre for delivery. I heard from others that the Primary Healthcare Centre in Camp 17 provides the best service,” said Dhalu while holding her month-old twin daughters wrapped in blankets in her arms.

Although Dhalu lives with her husband and children in Camp 18 of the Rohingya refugee camps, she decided to go to the Primary Healthcare Centre in Camp 17. On arrival, Medical Officer Humayra Ifterkar Shamma and midwife Suborna Akter Sathi quickly examined her.

“The doctor told me that I was having twins and needed to be referred but I didn’t have time. So, they prepared me for delivery and by 3:30 am, I gave birth to two beautiful daughters Mizan and Sumaiya. Dr. Shamma told me that both my daughters were underweight and this can happen with twins,” said the 20-year-old mother.

ALSO READ THIS: RISING POLYGAMY: COST OF BEING A WOMAN IN ROHINGYA CAMPS

Mizan and Sumaiya were low birth weight twins born in early May 2022, weighing 2.1kg and 1.3kg respectively. The medical staff at the health centre spared no time to put the babies directly on the body of their mother, skin-to-skin, like kangaroos carry their babies close to the breast, in the Kangaroo Mother Care position. The midwife explained to Dhalu the benefits of the Kangaroo Mother Care technique, and she felt at ease.

The skin-to-skin contact keeps the baby warm, also stabilizes the baby’s heartbeat and breathing, increases the bonding of the baby with the mother and supports the healthy development of the brain.

“We have around 45-50 deliveries here at the Primary Healthcare Centre every month and we only have one or two low birth-weight babies every three months. In such cases, our first priority is to make sure the infant does not have any breathing difficulties. Low birth-weight babies often suffer as they may have low suckling reflexes and cannot breastfeed well. There are risks of low blood sugar as well,” said Dr. Mizanur who is in charge of the facility.

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August 3, 2022 HealthLaboratoryNews

When Sukran* sat on a fishing trawler to cross the Bay of Bengal and change her life for the better, she thought for a split second that, had she gotten a marriage proposal from a “decent” family, from a man with a job, she would not have started this deadly journey to Malaysia.

Those were Sukran’s words when we first met in 2020, after she was rescued from a fishing trawler with 396 other survivors around mid-February, after spending 55 days adrift in the Bay of Bengal. Cut to 2022: Sukran is married.

Her husband is a middle-aged man with five children. Sukran is his second wife and is now pregnant with her second child in the Rohingya refugees camp. This is not how Sukran wanted her life to be, as I recall. “Anyway… I have a secure life now. His first wife lives in another camp. My marriage gave me security. You know how men behave with an unmarried girl. It’s better for a girl to get married when she is still entering puberty. Unmarried girls are not safe around men,” Sukran tells me.

ALSO READ THIS: MUSIC AS A PANACEA FOR PAIN IN ROHINGYA REFUGEE CAMPS

Over the last four years, polygamy has increased in Rohingya refugee camps due to the social, cultural, and religious dynamics of the community. This was not the case when they were in Myanmar. A special order was issued only for Muslims of Rakhine state in the 1990s.

It stated that, without an identity check and official permission from Burma’s border security force NaSaKa and Burma’s Military authorities, Rohingya marriages could not take place in Myanmar. The whole process was also rigorous and expensive. Also, in 2015, Myanmar passed a monogamy law where having more than one wife was made illegal for men.


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August 1, 2022 HealthLaboratoryNews

A mandolin instrumentalist, vocalist, and folk artist, Abul Shama grew up in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. He fled his home in August 2017 during Myanmar’s brutal campaign against the Rohingyas, becoming a resident of Camp 15 in Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar.

Since then, Abul Shama has been performing local Rakhine songs on different occasions in the Rohingya community, aided by his local, hand-made mandolin. The symphony of his peaceful voice and mandolin can often be heard drifting across the camps. Many of his songs depict the suffering of the refugees, so many are able to feel a heartfelt connection with his music.

“I am trying to draw inspiration and express the sufferings of the Rohingyas through music for the next generation, so it becomes possible for them to comprehend how we are living through these tough times,” said Abul Shama, holding his mandolin. “When I play music, children surround me and show their interest in learning it.

ALSO READ THIS: DELHI POLICE DCPS TO KEEP TRACK OF ‘ILLEGAL’ ROHINGYA VIA WEEKLY RECORDS

It gives me a real sense of fulfilment to be an authorised music teacher in the camp. It is like a recognition of the work I have been doing since my days in my home country. I am happy that now people know me, respect me, and love spending time with me, but I am happier when I see children exude confidence by learning music.”

In addition to teaching, Abul Shama is also an expert in making mandolins by using locally available raw materials. This helps to meet the demand for music instruments at the refugee camps at a low price, as well as supporting his livelihood.

Why is this important? The Rohingya exodus, the result of a military campaign by the armed forces of Myanmar that has been described as ethnic cleansing, is a huge source of trauma for the Rohingya refugees. It is especially troubling for children, youth and adolescents, who are living in adverse circumstances and with great uncertainty hanging over their heads.

It is not uncommon for them to suffer from grief, dread, a crisis of confidence, an unconscious belief in lifelong defeat, and an intense feeling of being unworthy. In these circumstances, practising music can bring with it a sense of peace and a platform to share emotional experiences.

Read more…


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July 31, 2022 ImageLaboratoryNews

Demographic particulars of “Rohingya illegal migrants” staying in Delhi, particularly men categorised in age brackets — up to 14, 14 to 40, and 40 — along with weekly records of arrival and departure, are among details that police across Delhi’s districts have been asked to start collecting by the Special Branch.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) card numbers and address from where the migrants arrived are also supposed to be recorded, according to instructions issued to Delhi’s 15 DCPs. They have also been asked to appoint a nodal officer to monitor migrants staying in their respective districts.

ALSO READ THIS: IOM DEPUTY CALLS FOR SOLIDARITY WITH ROHINGYA REFUGEES, HOST COMMUNITIES

A letter sent to the Special CP (intelligence division), all JCPs of ranges and district DCPs on July 22 by DCP (Special Branch) Nishant Gupta states, “As desired by the Special CP (intelligence division), a nodal officer for monitoring of Rohingya illegal migrants staying in respective jurisdiction is to be fixed by every district to update weekly diary pertaining to Rohingyas and further correspondence to this division. The name and contact details of the nodal officer should be communicated to this office on priority.”

In his letter, Gupta shared three proformas for the weekly diary of Rohingya illegal migrants staying in Delhi. In the first annexure, district DCPs have been asked to provide details of migrants staying in various pockets of Delhi.

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Patient Care Diagnostic Center is a Health Care Center formed to promote the health and well-being of the local & Rohingya community by providing accessible, high-quality medical care for people of all ages, irrespective of gender, religion, social status and ethnicity.We are committed to providing health services that will exceed the expectations of our patients, resulting in a sustainable healthcare facility for the people.

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