The British government should dispatch criminal law specialists from the UK team of Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) to train the Bangladeshi organisations that are documenting statements of Rohingya survivors, says a new report.
The training is required for them to acquire skills on how to document and investigate sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in line with best practices as set out in the international protocol, it said.
The report was commissioned by the British High Commission in Dhaka, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office -- a department of the Government of the United Kingdom.
According to the report, the British government should carry out a qualitative study to ascertain what form of accountability survivors want -- whether it is a criminal justice process, compensation, recognition of their group and citizenship, or all three -- and focus on response accordingly.
Two experts from the UK's Deployable Civilian Expert visited Dhaka and Cox's Bazar from November 14 to 21, 2017 and assessed the needs of refugees in the Rohingya community who have been subjected to sexual and gender-based violence. They published the report on May 18.
The executive summary of the report outlines their findings and includes 10 recommendations for future government response.
The report recommends that the British government engage diplomatically with the Bangladesh government.
At present, there are no translation services in the camps with reliance being placed on locals from the Chittagong Hills who speak a similar but not identical language to the Rohingyas.
"Accurate and reliable translation is key to the delivery of medical, psychosocial and legal support to the refugees and for the investigation and documentation of SGBV crimes," reads one of the recommendations.
The report observed that the lack of adequate lighting is a significant protection issue for women and girls in the camps.
The British government should upscale funding for international NGOs that advocate a holistic approach to the treatment of victims of SGBV, in particular to increase the number of Women and Girl-Friendly Spaces and mobile health and psycho social teams.
For decades, the Rohingyas have been repeatedly displaced and have suffered multiple episodes of violence on account of the fact that they are not recognised as citizens of Myanmar, where their very existence is denied.
Until this core issue is resolved, the executive summary of the report says, there will be no resolution to their plight.
The Bangladesh government has shown considerable generosity in opening its borders, the report observed.