For Rohingya Muslim child refugees, too many losses to count

By , on September 22, 2017


Rohingya Muslims fleeing terrible persecution in Myanmar. (Photo by AK Rockefeller/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)
Rohingya Muslims fleeing terrible persecution in Myanmar. (Photo by AK Rockefeller/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

BALUKHALI REFUGEE CAMP, Bangladesh — Children make up about 60 per cent of more than 420,000 people who have poured in to Bangladesh over the last four weeks — Rohingya Muslims fleeing terrible persecution in Myanmar.

They have seen family members killed and homes set on fire. They have known fear and terror. And they have endured dangerous journeys through forests and on rickety boats.

Sometimes they’ve done it alone. UNICEF has so far counted more than 1,400 children who have crossed the border with neither parent.

Now they’ve traded the fear and terror of Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state for the chaos of refugee camps in Bangladesh. Tens of thousands of strangers live cheek by jowl in normally uninhabitable places are hardly the safe havens that nurture a childhood.