Myanmar is officially on the State Department’s list of countries that violate religious freedoms, as hundreds of thousands of Rohingya continue to struggle for survival in over-crowded refugee camps, with their numbers about to swell by nearly 50,000.
The new additions won’t be running across the border into neighboring Bangladesh — they will be babies born in tents at refugee camps holding over 650,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled a horrific campaign of ethnic cleansing — and possibly genocide — in Myanmar that started in late August. According to the U.N. children’s agency, 60 percent of those at the refugee camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazaar are children.
According to Save the Children, an estimated 48,000 babies are expected in 2018, or around 130 a day. Most of them will not have access to basic sanitation and health care, says Rachael Cummings, the aid organization’s health advisor in Cox’s Bazar.
“The disadvantage these newborn Rohingya babies will face, by virtue of the situation they are born into, is truly heartbreaking. From the very beginning they will battle odds stacked against them, living in an overcrowded environment where everyone is desperate for help,” said Cummings in a statement on the Save the Children site.