On December 8, 2020, Centre for Peace and Justice hosted a Rohingya Camp Voices Webinar Series, Impact of Covid-19 on the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar. To support the Rohingya humanitarian response as a knowledge partner, CPJ aimed to generate ideas, share opinions and perspectives with the hope of finding a solution to the Rohingya humanitarian crisis in Cox’s Bazar. The discussion highlighted the issues related to the impacts of Covid-19 on camp health systems, education, livelihoods, gender and social cohesion affairs in the Rohingya camps.
Webinar’s featuring guest, Dr Ruhul Abid, the President of HAEFA and an Associate Professor at Brown University (USA), said that “Rohingya were down at heel of healthcare in Myanmar since their citizenship is stripped since 1982. Rohingya received no vaccine, immunization or treatment for last 5 decades in neighbouring Myanmar”. Dr Ruhul further continued: Bangladesh Government is playing a pivotal role to contain the Covid-19 in camps. Since the influx-2017, in collaboration with humanitarian agencies, government a fighting to control other outbreaks too– Polio, measles, cholera averted and diphtheria with vaccination and medical supports”.
Dr Ruhul pointed out that the required health facilities of government and other agencies are insufficient for the massive and urgent needs of the vulnerable community. He urged the responsible authority and NGOs to enhance the quality and quantity of food and hygienic support for the displaced Rohingya which is equality required to combat diseases.
The webinar put the Rohingya community at the heart of the discussion and widen their active participation aiming to enable persons and agencies interested in working toward sustainable solutions to the Rohingya crisis to listen to the community people most directly. CPJ connected 4 speakers from Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar: Mr Ali Jinnah Hossain, Mr Mohammad Nowkim, Mis Jenifer and Mis Umme Salma. All four esteemed Rohingya speakers are volunteers working with CPJ on our current project, Bridging Community and Humanitarian Responses to Covid-19 in Rohingya Camps.
Mr Jinnah remarked that: “Justice, rule of law and effective security measures are highly required to ensure social cohesion within and between the Rohingya and the host community”. He further highlighted that: “While talking about health, education employment for Rohingya refugees, many poor host community people also required equal support”. Another Rohingya speaker Umme Salma pointed out that “child marriage, dowry and domestic violence is increasing in the camps amid covid-19”. She continued: “A girl who is married as a child is more likely to be out of school….she later could experience domestic violence, HIV/AIDS and a higher risk of her death due to complications during her pregnancy and childbirth”.
CPJ’s Research Associate Azizul Hoque moderated the session. Centre’s Visiting Researcher Jessica Olney and Project Manager Mofaq Kharul Islam Taufiq provided technical supports to the events. The conversation is available here: