Every day at least 60 new Rohingya babies are born in Bangladeshi refugee camps facing insecurities and a lack of minimal medical facilities, UNICEF said in a new report published Thursday.
Over the last nine months more than 16,000 Rohingya babies have been born at the informal shelters made for Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, said the report.
“Around 60 babies a day are taking their first breath in appalling conditions, away from home, to mothers who have survived displacement, violence, trauma and, at times, rape,” says Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF representative in Bangladesh, in the report.
“This is far from the best start in life”, he added.
Of all babies born in the camps since last September -- when Rohingya were fleeing a brutal crackdown in neighboring Myanmar -- only about 3,000 -- or one in five -- were delivered in health facilities. Estimates suggest that only 18 percent of mothers currently give birth in health centers, the report added.
The report also warned that due to a lack of proper documentation and registration at birth, the children can be excluded from accessing education, health care and social security.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, some 750,000 Rohingya, mostly children and women, have fled Myanmar after Myanmar forces began a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to Amnesty International.
At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Myanmar's Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, 2017, according to Doctors Without Borders.
In a report published last December, the global humanitarian group said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.