The Human Rights Watch has called on the Bangladesh government to lift the restrictions which are “violating the right to education” of Rohingya children.
In a report released yesterday, the New York-based rights body said about four lakh Rohingya children could not enroll in or continue their education at private or public schools outside the refugee camps.
The 81-page report, “‘Are We Not Human?’: Denial of Education for Rohingya Refugee Children in Bangladesh,” said there was no secondary-level education for the refugee children.
“…depriving children of education just compounds the harm to the children and won’t resolve the refugees’ plight any faster,” said Bill Van Esveld, associate children’s rights director at Human Rights Watch (HRW).
“The government of Bangladesh saved countless lives by opening its borders and providing refuge to the Rohingya, but it needs to end its misguided policy of blocking education for Rohingya children,” he said.
The HRW said Myanmar also refused to approve the use of its curriculum in the camps, so UNICEF, the UN agency for children, developed an informal education programme from scratch.
The programme, submitted for government approval in April 2018, was designed to work around the Bangladesh government’s ban on formal education, but Dhaka took a year to approve the first two “levels,” equivalent to preschool and the beginning of primary school.
The government has still not approved the upper three levels, it said.
Bangladesh’s Refugee Rehabilitation and Repatriation Commissioner Mahbub Alam Talukder said it was wrong to say that Bangladesh was not providing education to the Rohingya children.
“We are providing informal education,” he told The Daily Star over phone yesterday.
Asked about secondary education, he said the Rohingyas were not Bangladeshi citizens and could not be provided secondary education under the curriculum of the country.
Some 750,000 Rohingyas fled brutal atrocities in Myanmar’s Rakhine State and took shelter in the camps in Cox’s Bazar since August 2017. They joined some 300,000 other Rohingyas who fled previous waves of violence in Myanmar.
Despite two attempts at repatriation, no Rohingya volunteered to return to Rakhine, saying the conditions in Myanmar were not conducive for their return and there was no guarantee of citizenship.
Myanmar is now facing charges of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which will hold its first hearing in The Hague between December 10-12.