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Bangladesh NGO's 'rape alarm' to save Rohingya women from unwanted sexual advances

The device, which gives off a high-pitched ambulance wail at the press of a button, is a great relief for women in the camp as stories of sexual harassment and rapes have been making headlines.

Published: 26th November 2017 04:48 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th November 2017 04:48 PM   |  A+A-

In this Sept. 30, 2017, photo, Rohingya refugee survivors of a Sept. 28 boat capsize walk in a group to a registration center at Kutupalong camp for newly arrived Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. (Photo | Associated Press)

By ANI

DHAKA: A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Bangladesh has distributed a device called the "rape alarm" to women in the Keruntali Rohingya camp of Teknaf to save them from unwanted sexual advances.

The device, which gives off a high-pitched ambulance wail at the press of a button, is a great relief for women in the camp as stories of sexual harassment and rapes have been making headlines in the country.

The NGO Moonlight Development Society has distributed 175 such devices among women aged between 12 and 25.

The Daily Star quoted Moonlight Development Society project coordinator, Mohammed Anik, as saying that the device could be useful for children and women, who were vulnerable for attacks in the camps.

“The girls are really vulnerable. We have been trying to come up with something that is cheap and could at least be of help for the time being. Then we designed the battery-run device which is also a torch,” Anik said.

18-year-old Kamalida, who came to Teknaf with her elderly father in late August from Myanmar, believes pressing a button in her small hand-held device can alert others in the camp if she is attacked.

“To be able to leave the tent knowing I would be able to let others know when I am attacked is a relief. It reduces the fear to some extent,” she said.

Since her father is paralysed, Kamalida needs to go out often to feed themselves.

According to the United Nation's Children Fund (UNICEF), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Save the Children data, over 5,549 unaccompanied or separated Rohingya children have taken shelter in these camps in Bangladesh since August. 

These children without their families or known ones are at a high risk of being trafficked and abused.

Marufa Munni, the manager of a medical camp run by the organisation, said, “We trained the people in the camps on how they should respond when they hear the siren. We need more such devices in other Rohingya settlements as well.”

More than 620,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh since the Myanmar security forces launched an operation in response to alleged attacks by militants on August 25 against 30 police posts and a regimental headquarters.

Bangladesh and Myanmar on Thursday signed a deal on repatriation after both the countries came to a consensus following a meeting between Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. 



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