Mr. Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, visited Bangladesh from 21 to 26 May. He met with the Honorable Prime Minister HE Sheikh Hasina as well as other government officials to discuss the ongoing response, opportunities, and solutions for Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char. He also highlighted the need for sustained international support when meeting with key donors and partners who support the humanitarian response. During his visit, Mr. Grandi met with refugees in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char including male and female committee members, imams, women, and adolescent girls; they shared their feelings, experiences and hopes for the future. Mr. Grandi was accompanied on his visit by Mr. Indrika Ratwatte, UNHCR’s Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, and Mr. Herve de Villeroche, Senior Advisor to the High Commissioner. He last visited Bangladesh in March 2019.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MONTH
20 refugees and local Bangladeshis of different sexual orientations and gender identities joined a discussion with UNHCR and partners on 17 May, the International DayAgainst Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. The discussion focused on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; the participants highlighted the need for safe spaces and enhanced protection in the camps and host community areas.
Over 70,000 households received tie-down kits for cyclone and monsoon preparedness. Tie-down kits consist of rope and wire used to reinforce refugee shelters.
Over 100,000 refugees across 31 camps were reached by Female Religious Teachers and Imams who conducted sessions on issues affecting communities including gender-based violence, child marriage, health, and monsoon and cyclone preparedness.
More than 20 staff members from UN agencies and partners took part in a five-day training on sexual and reproductive health, conducted by UNHCR and UNFPA in Cox’s Bazar. The training focused on the comprehensive approach to sexual and reproductive health for refugees, and minimum initial service packages.
As Cyclone Asani formed in the Bay of Bengal, warnings were issued in Cox’s Bazar and on Bhasan Char in the first week of May.
Fortunately, the cyclone did not make landfall, and no damage or storm surge was observed. In Cox’s Bazar, volunteers trained in cyclone preparedness were on standby to hoist the flags and activate the early warning systems, and disseminate messages to the community. UNHCR has prepositioned contingency stock of post disaster kits in the camps that are ready to be distributed if needed. The kits have items to support shelter, water, and hygiene needs. Food is also prepositioned by other partners.
BHASAN CHAR: Activities started at the new UNHCR-Government Bangladesh Joint Registration Centre on Bhasan Char. As of the end of May, data from more than 650 households (some 2,400 individuals) was updated, and relevant identify documents were printed.
A gender-based violence (GBV) risk mitigation gap analysis started on Bhasan Char, including education, health, and shelter partners. The analysis will continue for three months, including a desk review, key informant interviews and community consultations. Recommendations will be made to strengthen GBV risk mitigation on the island.
On Bhasan Char, in response to Cyclone Asani, refugee volunteers trained in cyclone preparedness were assigned to each cluster; health and nutrition partners formed a Disaster Management Committee, and door-to-door awareness sessions were conducted by volunteers.
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees