The Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative celebrates International Women’s Day
Toronto, March 8, 2020 – Today marks International Women’s Day. Women around the world are celebrating their many achievements and are raising awareness about what still needs to be accomplished in order to achieve gender equality. It is also a day to call for solidarity from men and boys, and people of all genders. We need everyone to be actively engaged and in support of the advancement of women and girls.
Gender-based violence is prevalent in Myanmar, particularly for ethnic minorities in Rakhine, Kachin, Karen and Shan states. Rohingya women and girls face a disproportionate amount of violence. It is now becoming well-known through various reports, such as Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar’s report that Myanmar’s security forces, the Tatmadaw, use rape and sexual assault as tools of genocide against Rohingya people. Gender-based violence is baked into their strategy of removing Rohingya people from the country.
Safety is also not guaranteed in the refugee camps in Bangladesh. While Rohingya refugees are resilient and rely on strong community-based protection and self-support mechanisms, there is a need to strengthen the presence of legal aid agencies, ensure refugees’ access to mental health resources, and increase the measures taken to address risks of camp security, exploitation, trafficking in persons, and, drug trafficking.
Space constraints are one of the biggest hurdles for Rohingya women and girls, and there is also a need for more shelter and better housing. Current makeshift housings in the camps are highly insecure and are vulnerable to natural disasters. The huge number of refugees densely packed in a small area of land, which receives torrential rain during monsoon season, is a disaster in the making. Women and young girls are often more vulnerable in regard to their safety during such times. In addition to Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV) service points being affected by floods and landslides, there is a lack of gender-based emergency preparedness, and young girls face risks of being kidnapped and trafficked.
Today, we stand with the brave women and girls for whom gender-based violence is an everyday reality, and with those who are instrumental in bringing the genocide and humanitarian crisis to the attention of politicians, lawmakers, and the international community.
For more information:
Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative (CRDI)