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Gender Profile No. 2 for Rohingya Refugee Crisis Response - Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh (as of March 2019)


Prepared by the Inter-Sector Gender in Humanitarian Action Working Group (GiHA WG) under the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG). GiHA WG is Co-Chaired by UN Women and UNHCR with Technical Support from Inter-Agency GENCAP.


Since the major influx which started on 25 August 2017, an estimated 745,000 Rohingya people (as of January 2019) have taken refuge in Cox’s Bazar, creating the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis and the largest refugee settlement (911,000). Refugees have described a litany of violations including severe beatings, stabbings, abuses and sexual violence, with men and boys subsequently taken away or executed in front of their families, which fueled their displacement from Rakhine state in Myanmar. From the onset, the Rohingya refugee crisis has had a particularly gendered nature. 52% of the total refugee population are women and girls, while 85% are women and children and 16% of households are female headed. Girls, who represent a larger proportion (57%) of the vulnerable group, are particularly at risk of child marriage, sexual exploitation, abuse and neglect. The facts on the ground present unique challenges as well as opportunities for saving lives, protecting the basic human rights of the affected populations and for gender transformative programming.

Although the response to the refugee crisis from the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) and the humanitarian community was swift and is significant, enormous gaps remain. Basic services such as food aid, water, sanitation, health and shelter are overstretched in refugee camps and new settlements in Cox’s Bazar. The scale of the refugee influx has put great strain on natural resources and services. Whereas humanitarian actors are working to address gender and women protection and empowerment issues, it is not yet sufficiently mainstreamed into every sector’s activities, including in relation to the principle of “do no harm”, empowerment and accountability. There are gaps and challenges for which efforts need to continue. This Gender Profile No.2 provides an analysis of issues/needs and recommended actions across the sectors.