NEW DELHI: BJP MP Vinay Katiyar spews venom against former Miss World and Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra for visiting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh asking her to leave India if she sympathised with them.
“VIPs should not visit there (Rohingya refugee camps). This sends out a wrong message. Priyanka ji should not have gone there. How and why she did she go there? This is a matter of concern. Rohingya Muslims should not be allowed to live here and those who sympathize with them should also be not allowed to live in India,” ANI quoted the BJP MP as saying.
The 35-year-old actor, a UNICEF goodwill ambassador for Child Rights, on Monday visited the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, one of the largest refugee camps in the world and described the crisis as “horrific”.
She also shared photographs of her experience with Rohingya children, on Instagram.
As I walk into the Women Friendly Space at the Jamtoli Camp, I am instantly struck by a certain calmness. These camps are loud & crowded, actually overcrowded, and so to find a quiet oasis, in this case a small hut with a tarp roof and thatched bamboo walls, is surprising. But for the girls in this camp, this is what they call their “house of peace.” It’s a place they can come and just be. A place to interact with friends, seek counselling, learn about hygiene, or learn life skills like art and music. There are approx 50 Women Friendly Spaces in the camps, just like this one, that on any given day see 50-70 Rohingya girls seeking these safe havens. The centers open at 9am, but there is seldom a day when the women aren’t lined up early, waiting for the doors to open. It is here that I met three 18 year old young women, in particular, who’s stories really shook me – their names have been omitted to protect their identities. They recounted lives of pain and suffering so horrifying…it’s difficult to fathom. One scarred with memories of houses in her village being burned – she and her parents traveled for two days to get here, passing hundreds of decapitated and dismembered bodies along the way. Another shared stories of young girls being pulled from their homes to be raped and tortured. They even tried to kill her and cut her with a knife, but she fought back. How did you manage to be so brave, I asked her…she replied, “If you’re born you will die, so I’m not scared of dying today.” In what world is it normal for an 18 year old girl to have this perspective on life?! The third young woman traveled for nearly two weeks on foot through the forest, where her youngest brother died along the way. There was lots of rape and torture back home she told me, and some women’s breasts were even cut off. While their lives are safer now, they are all still struggling. They know that with an education they can get a job and create better lives for their family, like buying protein for their meals, and clean drinking water. It’s literally as basic as that. Please help however you can, no donation is too small…go to www.supportunicef.org #childrenuprooted @unicef
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This is little Shohida (8 months old), who stole my heart with her infectious smile. It’s a poignant reminder of the dichotomy of life…here she was getting all the help she needed, when just a few months before, her mother, Alada (who was only 19 years old at the time) walked for 15 days, while 6 months pregnant with her ,to get across the border. It shows us that there is hope left in this world. When you’re dealing with a mass exodus of thousands of people, who have been displaced from their homes and are desperate for refuge, the need for proper health and nutrition takes center stage…especially for women and children. On the various Unicef Field Visits I have taken, I am always surprised by the simple yet effective solutions that @unicef and their partners develop to deal with the most dire and pressing situations and issues. This is something I experienced again today during my visit to the Nutrition Centre at the Jamtoli camp in Cox’s Bazar. More than 60,000 babies have been born in the camps over the past 8 months, so this center is an essential resource for new mothers to learn about proper feeding and nutrition. It all begins with the MUAC, a process where the child’s middle upper arm is measured to ascertain their nutrition level. From there, aids create a program for the child and a nutrient rich, ready-to-eat peanut paste is portioned out for each child based on the severity of malnutrition. At the Center mother’s are also taught basic hygiene and good health practices when they are in their homes. The world needs to care. We need to care. Please lend your support at www.supportunicef.org #childrenuprooted @unicef @unicefbangladesh
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Almost 700,000 refugees have fled violence in neighbouring Myanmar and arrived in Cox’s Bazar since August 2017, according to the United Nations.
Priyanka, who had met Syrian refugee children in Jordan last year, says children are at the “forefront of this humanitarian crisis, and they desperately need our help”.
“The world needs to care. We need to care. These kids are our future,” she wrote.
Priyanka also shared a video talking about how the refugees had to travel by foot to enter Bangladesh. Priyanka asked for helping these children “because right now, their future is bleak”.