Violence and massive human rights violations northern Rakhine State, Myanmar triggered the exodus of over half a million Rohingya refugees across the border into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. By 30 September, more than 509,000 people were estimated to have crossed into Bangladesh, joining some 300,000 that had fled in earlier waves of displacement and some 34,000 registered refugees living in established camps. Those fleeing are concentrated in Ukhia and Teknaf. Pre-existing settlements and camps have expanded with the new influx, while new spontaneous settlements have also formed and are quickly growing and smaller numbers of refugees are living with the host community. The speed and scale of the influx has resulted in a critical humanitarian emergency. The exodus is accompanied by compelling protection concerns. A multi-sector assessment conducted on 6-7 September found that most of the new arrivals are women and girls, many of them are single heads of households, and unaccompanied or separated children. Many refugees have experienced violence and traumatic events and need follow up referrals to protection services, including for child protection and GBV interventions.
II. GOAL AND OBJECTIVES
The overall goal of the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Sub-sector is to facilitate coordinated, accountable and effective GBV emergency preparedness and risk reduction to address the humanitarian crisis in Cox Bazar District, Bangladesh. Gender-based violence encompasses “any harmful act that is perpetrated against a person’s will, and that is based on socially ascribed (gender) differences between male and females.”1 It includes acts that inflict physical, sexual or emotional harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion, and other deprivation of liberty. GBV can occur both in public or private space. As per global guidelines, all humanitarian personnel ought to assume GBV is occurring and threatening affected populations in times of crisis; treat it as a serious and life-threatening problem; and take actions regardless of the presence or absence of concrete ‘evidence’.
The objective of the GBV Sub-sector is to develop an effective and inclusive mechanism to address the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh. These actions will be in line with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) GBV Guidelines,2 which provide a ‘minimum’ set of actions to which all humanitarian actors ought to be held accountable.
The GBV Sub-sector shall prioritize accessibility to life-saving services for Rohingya refugees disproportionately at-risk of GBV, including girls, women, individuals with disability, and individuals identifying as LGBTQI. In meeting this objective, the Sub-sector shall give due consideration to the needs of host communities.