EU Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) and UNICEF have teamed up to provide more protection for nearly 42,000 children, adolescents and young women in the Cox’s Bazar area of south-eastern Bangladesh

Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, 16 May 2018 - The European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Operations (ECHO) has provided US$ 2.6 million to UNICEF to ensure that children, adolescents and young women can live in a safe and protective environment free from Gender Based Violence (GBV) and with better access to social services.

The measures will benefit 41,500 children and adolescents living in Rohingya camps as well as local Bangladeshi people – known as the host community – who live alongside them.

More than 693,000 refugees from Myanmar have arrived in Cox Bazar since August 2017 – more than half of them (an estimated 58 per cent) are children.

The Rohingya population in Cox's Bazar, particularly children, adolescent girls and young women are highly vulnerable. They face significant risks in addition to disease outbreaks because girls and young women in particular are susceptible to sexual exploitation and all other forms of abuse including child labour.

The host community has also been under pressure since the arrival of thousands of new refugees in their districts.

“Many of the refugees who have fled from Myanmar have experienced violence and traumatic events,” said UNICEF Bangladesh Representative, Edouard Beigbeder.

“They need follow-up referrals for appropriate services. In the camps, many are at high risks of gender based violence.

“This initiative will allow us to protect the most vulnerable and reduce the risks and vulnerability to further violations of their rights, such as exploitation, trafficking, gender based violence, child marriage and child labour.”

Some of the problems encountered in the camps by children, adolescents and young women are not uncommon in the host community.

UNICEF is providing more than 182,000 children and adolescents with critical child protection services, including psychosocial support and assistance for unaccompanied children in the camps to retrace their parents. Recreational and other support mechanisms are also to be provided.

Efforts to prevent and respond to gender-based violence recently gained momentum by the opening of two Women- Friendly Spaces in the camps, expected eventually to support 500 women each.

“With Child friendly Spaces (CFS) and adolescent group activities, UNICEF is providing a range of confidential services including case management and referral for emergency cases, psychosocial supports and life skills. Yet there is a huge gap to bridge. So, we have joined forces,” said Suranga Mallawa, ECHO expert in Cox’s Bazaar.

“The proposed child protection and GBV response interventions will complement UNICEF's response plan by ensuring rights and protection of children including support for GBV response and referral.”

The initiative will also feature the provision of alternative care services to 37,000 children and adolescents through CFSs, Adolescent Clubs and outreach services by social workers.

Another 2,000 adolescent girls and young women in the makeshift and spontaneous settlements will benefit from the establishment of 35 Safe Space areas for women.

Outreach activities will ensure that 2,000 adolescent girls and young women will be supported by women’s support groups for the prevention of GVB.

A further 500 adolescent girls and young women will receive help and advice in responding to and dealing with GBV.


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit

About European Commission – Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)

The European Union with its Member States is a leading global donor of humanitarian aid. Through the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO), the EU helps over 120 million victims of the conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, ECHO provides assistance to the most vulnerable people solely on the basis of humanitarian needs, without discrimination of race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation.

For further information please contact:

Faria Selim, UNICEF Bangladesh, Tel: (+88) 01817586096,

AM Sakil Faizullah, UNICEF Bangladesh, Tel: (+88) 01713049900,

Pierre Prakash, ECHO Regional Information Officer – Asia & the Pacific, Tel: +66 (0)2 305 26 00, ext. 2768, Cell: +66 (0)89 811 5481