By Bayram Altug
ANKARA (AA) - UNICEF on Friday called for urgent efforts for nearly 720,000 Rohingya children in Bangladesh and Myanmar who are vulnerable to violence and outbreak of diseases.
"Some 720,000 Rohingya children are essentially trapped – either hemmed in by violence and forced displacement inside Myanmar or stranded in overcrowded camps in Bangladesh because they can’t return home," Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes said in a report.
The report stated that over 534,000 Rohingya children are living in refugee camps in Bangladesh, while nearly 185,000 Rohingya children remain in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, subjected to ongoing violence.
The UN agency said the upcoming cyclone season in Bangladesh will affect the "fragile and insanitary" refugee camps, which could lead to the outbreak of waterborne diseases and force clinics, learning centers and other facilities to close.
The report also called on the Myanmar government to end the violence against Rohingya Muslims, stating that they should have basic rights such as freedom of movement, access to healthcare and education, and livelihoods.
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.
More than 750,000 refugees, mostly children and women, have fled Myanmar since August 25, 2017, when Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to Amnesty International.
At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, according to Doctors Without Borders.
In a report 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 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.