There is a serious humanitarian crisis unfolding in Bangladesh. Desperate to escape the cruelties they are facing in Myanmar, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh. As the number of refugees increase from day to day it is placing a strain on the present refugee camps as well as the Bangladesh Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission’s ability to handle the matter.


The greatest concern is the large number of children crossing the border, many of whom are orphaned. UNICEF has been front and center since the first wave of refugees entered Bangladesh in August. The UN children agency estimates that of the 600,000 refugees in Bangladesh some 60 percent are children. They are the most vulnerable. UNICEF has produced a report detailing the horrific accounts that the Rohingya children have witnessed while also underscoring the grave situation the children are facing at the squalid camps including the risks of disease and possible exploitation by human traffickers.


The world can no longer afford to merely stand by and watch the humanitarian catastrophe taking place along the borders of Bangladesh and Myanmar. A pledging conference will be held in Geneva on 23 October 2017 as part of efforts to get the international community to help the UN and humanitarian agencies raise funds for the Rohingya refugees. The ministerial-level pledging conference will be co-hosted by the government of Kuwait and the European Union. The conference seeks to raise $434 million of which about one-sixth would go to UNICEF efforts to help children.


The Rohingya Muslims have seen enough brutality that will last them a life time. It is time now for Malaysia and the rest of the world to show that we care. It is imperative that we give much-needed support to the Bangladesh government. The international community must mobilize all available resources to save innocent lives.


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