One in two Rohingya children who fled to Bangladesh without their parents were orphaned by brutal violence, new research by Save the Children suggests ahead of the one-year anniversary of the crisis on Saturday.
There are currently more than 6,000 unaccompanied and separated Rohingya children living in Cox’s Bazar, where they face crippling food shortages and are at increased risk of exploitation and abuse.
Child Protection workers in the area’s camps had previously thought an overwhelming majority of these children had simply lost contact with parents or carers in the chaos of their journey to Bangladesh—but the research suggests otherwise.
The charity’s study, involving 139 unaccompanied and separated Rohingya children, is the largest of its type in Cox’s Bazar since the brutal military crackdown in Myanmar a year ago.
Preliminary findings from the research show:
Seventy percent of children covered by the study were separated from parents or main carers by violent attacks; 63% of all children in the study were separated during a direct assault on their village, and 9%as their family attempted to flee to Bangladesh.
Half (50%) said their parents or main carers had been killed in the attacks, leaving them orphaned, with many describing eyewitness scenes of brutal violence.
Save the Children is calling for the perpetrators of these systematic, ruthless and deliberate attacks in Myanmar to be held accountable under international law for their crimes, and for all countries to support initiatives at the UN to bring the perpetrators to justice.
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