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Bangladesh Eyes Sterilization of Rohingya Males

Bangladesh Eyes Sterilization of Rohingya Males

Saturday, 28 October, 2017 - 05:00
Rohingya refugees protect themself from the rain in Bangladesh's Balukhali refugee camp. AFP

Bangladesh is planning to introduce voluntary sterilization for males in its overcrowded Rohingya camps, where nearly a million refugees are fighting for space, after efforts to encourage birth control failed.

According to Agence France Presse, more than 900,000 Rohingya - 60 percent of whom arrived since the end of August - are present in the camps.

The United Nations has warned that “ethnic cleansing” has driven the flight of the Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar.

Most live in the Bangladesh camps in desperate conditions with limited access to food, sanitation or health facilities and local officials fear a lack of family planning could stretch resources even further.

Bangladesh officials say some 20,000 Rohingya women are pregnant and 600 have given birth since arriving in Bangladesh.

Pintu Kanti Bhattacharjee, who heads the family planning service in the district of Cox's Bazar where the camps are based, said there was little awareness of birth control among the Rohingya.

"Sterilization of the males is the best way to control the population," said Bhattacharjee.

But performing the permanent procedure on non-Bangladeshi nationals requires final approval from a committee headed by the health minister.

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