Bangladesh has been among the Pacific countries experiencing Monsoon floods and cyclones for a decade and there are currently over 1.9 million children affected by the 2020 Monsoon floods. All vulnerable groups, particularly pregnant women, adolescent girls, elderly women, female with disabilities are disproportionately affected by the dual impact of flood and COVID-19 pandemic.
Conversely, more than two years on, the Rohingya refugee crisis remains a protection and solutions crisis at its core. Psychological distress as a result of traumatic events experienced before and during forced displacement from Myanmar have been exacerbated by the harsh living conditions and additional protection risks to which Rohingya refugees are exposed while displaced in Bangladesh. Rohingya refugee children (55% of all Rohingya refugees) are susceptible to abuse, exploitation, violence, including sexual violence and neglect and the majority needs child protection services.
Bangladesh is composed of two Child Protection Coordination mechanisms to respond to natural disaster and Rohingya emergencies: the National Child Protection Cluster, co-Led by UNICEF and Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and the Child Protection Sub-sector at Cox’s Bazar, led by UNICEF. Both Child Protection Coordination structures support, advice and advocate for timely and standardized prevention and response activities in Child’s best interest, establish links with and strengthen national child protection systems and promote actions that place children at the centre of the response.
2021 response plan in numbers
In partnership with the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) and the Department of Social Services (DSS), the Child Protection Sub-Sector (CPSS) will focus on strengthening the overall child protection system, utilizing the Child Protection Minimum Standards14 which focus on strengthening child protection systems at the level of children, families, communities, and society. The Rohingya community will remain at the centre of the child protection response, with increased efforts to deliver inclusive approaches to child protection, building on existing capacities of community members themselves, such as families and caregivers, and by engaging children in their own protection. In addition, the CPSS will focus on supporting systems strengthening with local authorities to ensure a holistic approach to the protection of children.
The CPSS will ensure an increased focus on the inclusion of children with disabilities in all programming, working in collaboration with the Age, Gender and Diversity Working Group and other relevant actors. Together with the Government, the CPSS will strengthen systems for better ensuring children’s access to justice for any crimes committed against them, including for Rohingya refugee children.