Fundraising: Safe spaces for refugee children
In recent weeks, the violence against the rohingya people in Burma has intensified. Both the UN and human rights organisations documented reports of extrajudicial killing, mass rape and arson. More than 400 000 Rohingyas have fled across the border to Bangladesh in the last month. According to UN the treatment of the Rohingya population looks like "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing".
Most of the refugees are children, and it is the children who suffer the worst. Therefore, the Palme Center launches a fundraising campaign to build schools and create safe spaces for the children who have fled across the border to Bangladesh. At the safe spaces the children will be able to play, get education and eat nutritious food every day, while having the opportunity to process the horrors they have suffered. The money raised by the Palme Center will be used in support of the British organization Children on the Edge, which will provide about 50 safe spaces for the rohingya children in Bangladesh.
Most of the refugees don’t get into the official refugee camps established in Bangladesh, but live in temporary, unsafe places. The authorities prohibit the distribution of help to those living outside the refugee camps. Their situation is now acute.
Olof Palme International Center has been working for peace, democracy and development in Burma for 20 years. Our work is long-term, but the ethnic cleansing in Burma that force rohingya to flee their homes creates a crisis that requires immediate help. At the same time, it is extremely important that rohingya can make their own voices heard. Some of the funds collected will therefore be channelled to Kaladan Press Network, an independent news agency for Rohingya. Kaladan Press is part of a network of organizations that the Palme Center has supported for many years.
About Children on the Edge: http://www.childrenontheedge.org
About Kaladan Press Network: http://www.kaladanpress.org/
Opinion piece in Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish): https://www.svd.se/stoppa-den-etniska-rensningen-av-rohingyer
Podcast about the situation (in Swedish):: http://www.arenaide.se/2017/09/15/rohingyas-skolboksexempel-pa-etnisk-rensning/
FACTS ABOUT ROHINGYA AND BURMA
Rohingya is a Muslim minority group living in the state of Rakhine in north-western Burma. Although they have lived in the area for several generations, they are not recognized as one of the country’s official 135 ethnic groups. Instead they are regarded as illegal migrants from Bangladesh which restricts them from their citizenship rights and access to government services.
The conflict between Rohingyas and the Buddhist majority population has flared up periodically several times since the 1970s. The triggering factor for the latest outbreak of violence was the attack by the armed group – Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army – on Burmese police and military on August 25, 2017. Police and military responded to the attack by use of unproportionable violence, which has been denounced by the United Nations.