18. Education: Nearly every Rohingya parent who the Special Rapporteur spoke with cited education shortfalls as their most pressing concern for their children. 52 percent of the estimated 918,841 Rohingya (or 477,797) in Bangladesh are children under the age of-18. The Special Rapporteur takes note that the education needs for the children and youth in camps are tremendous. In 2021, an estimated 515,042 Rohingya aged 3-24 needed education opportunities. However, the Special Rapporteur notes 2021 funding targets in the Joint Response Plan only aimed to provide education, to 390,923 of them (100 percent of the 3-5 age group, 100 percent of 6-14, 70 percent of 15-18, and 15 percent of 19-24). According to the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) Education Sector only 62 percent of the education plan was in fact funded (as of 30 October 2021). Bangladesh needs a significantly stronger level of support from the international community if this gap is going to be overcome.
23. A Bangladesh senior official responded to the Special Rapporteur’s concerns regarding the education facility closures by stressing that (1) “these [Rohingya] are the people who have never been allowed to go to the schools in Myanmar,” (2) there is a lack of qualified teachers in the Rohingya community to provide good education, and (3) there is a potential for radicalization to occur in the unauthorized private schools. The Special Rapporteur is concerned that a senior government official would dismiss concerns about education for Rohingya children because of the horrible conditions that Rohingya families faced in Rakhine State. Reducing teacher salaries—as the 13 December circular mandates—is counterproductive to recruiting better qualified teachers. To address the potential for radicalization, closer engagement with the Rohingya community, the promotion of a vibrant moderate Rohingya civil society, and similar measures would be a more equitable approach than the closure of all private schools.
85. The roughly 600,000 Rohingya in Rakhine State continue to have their human rights systematically violated. More than 130,000 remain confined to IDP camps and even those living in villages are denied the right to move freely. Most villagers need to apply for permission to travel between locations in Rakhine State, a system that is enforced at checkpoints manned by security forces throughout the region. Since the coup, Rohingya have faced renewed arrest for undocumented travel and, as of mid-2021, 67 Rohingya were on trial while 58 had been convicted and sentenced up to two years for travel outside of Rakhine State. Travel restrictions and nighttime curfews can have life-and-death consequences, especially for those seeking treatment for acute medical conditions. An outbreak of diarrhea in Rohingya IDP camps that began in January 2022 has led to deaths that could have been prevented by timely medical treatment.
86. The Rohingya continue to be effectively cut off from access to citizenship in Myanmar. Few Rohingya are able to meet the documentary hurdles imposed by the 1982 Citizenship Law, which is applied in an extremely discriminatory manner against the Rohingya. Rohingya persons are by-and-large unwilling to accept National Verification cards (NVC) because of the stipulation that they register as “Bengali,” effectively identifying them as foreigners.
87. No progress has been made towards the safe, dignified and voluntary return of Rohingya who were driven from their homes. Many of the properties which belonged to Rohingya in villages from which they were driven by attacks in 2012, 2016 and 2017 have been razed and are now the site of new commercial projects, government buildings or military installations. Given current conditions, the Special Rapporteur considers the situation in Rakhine State to be unconducive to the voluntary, sustainable return of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh.