The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 11 November 2017

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortia and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R. Curry
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice

pdf version:The Sentinel_ period ending 11 November 2017

:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research
:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates
:: Journal Watch – Key articles and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals

Heritage Stewardship – ICC and UNESCO strengthen Cooperation on the Protection of Cultural Heritage

Heritage Stewardship – ICC

The ICC Office of the Prosecutor and UNESCO sign Letter of Intent to strengthen Cooperation on the Protection of Cultural Heritage
5 November 2017
Paris, France – Recognising the importance of protecting cultural heritage from attack in time of conflict, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, and Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or the “Court”), today signed a Letter of Intent by which UNESCO and the ICC Office of the Prosecutor will formalise and further enhance their collaboration, in line with their respective mandates…

“The deliberate destruction of cultural heritage not only affects peoples’ historical identity but fuels sectarian violence and hampers post-conflict recovery and peace building. UNESCO and the ICC must strengthen their cooperation for the protection of cultural property in armed conflicts, as this is a humanitarian and security imperative”, stated Mrs Bokova.

Praising UNESCO for its crucial work, Prosecutor Bensouda emphasised that more can be done going forward, adding that “an effective strategy to address the destruction of cultural heritage requires a multi-faceted and collaborative approach. UNESCO is a natural partner for my Office and, the ICC more broadly, in confronting the scourge of attacks against cultural heritage, within the Rome Statute framework. This Letter of Intent is a recognition of that important relationship and paves the way for continued cooperation.” She added: “cultural heritage is the embodiment of the continuity of the human story, a celebration of our commonality and the richness of our diversity. We all have a duty to protect cultural heritage. With close collaboration with UNESCO, we hope to make a difference.”

The recent historic ruling of the ICC in the case of the destruction of shrines and mausoleums in Timbuktu (Mali), the first of its kind before the Court, sent a clear signal that intentional targeting of cultural heritage is a serious crime that causes significant suffering to those immediately affected and beyond, and should not go unpunished. In its subsequent Reparation Order, moreover, the Court established that the victims of such crimes were entitled to compensation and issued a Reparation Order.
The importance of prosecuting those responsible for war crimes against cultural heritage was echoed in the ground-breaking UN Security Council Resolution 2347, adopted in March 2017, the first ever to condemn the unlawful destruction of cultural heritage. These unprecedented developments have led over the past years to frequent exchanges and collaboration between UNESCO and the ICC Office of the Prosecutor, based on the convergence of similar aims within their respective independent mandates.

As attacks against culture have regrettably become more frequent, the need for a stronger and more articulated framework of cooperation has become apparent. In addition to expertise UNESCO has provided in the context of the Al Mahdi case, cooperation has also been at the non-operational level, for example through participation in the ICC Office of the Prosecutor’s new policy initiative on cultural heritage, which is scheduled for finalisation and adoption in 2018. The Letter of Intent signed today builds on these efforts, further solidifying the existing relationship, with a view to establishing a comprehensive cooperation agreement in the near future.

Governance – Humanitarian Response :: New IFRC President, Global Meeting Sets Strategic Agenda

Governance – Humanitarian Response

Italy’s Francesco Rocca elected President of world’s largest humanitarian network
6 November 2017
Italian lawyer and humanitarian, Francesco Rocca, was today elected the new President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).


Shaping the future of the world’s largest humanitarian movement
Antalya, Turkey, 11 November 2017 – A major conference has adopted a series of measures that will shape the efforts of the world’s largest humanitarian movement to respond to the needs of people affected by crises. The global meetings of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement looked at pressing emergencies and challenges, while also exploring emerging trends that will have a profound impact on the future of humanitarian action.

The global meetings were held in Turkey – a country surrounded by some of the world’s most urgent humanitarian crises, including the conflict in Syria and the ongoing emergency facing people trying to cross the Mediterranean.

The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement called on States to guarantee the safety and dignity of all migrants, along with their unrestrained access to humanitarian assistance.

“We are calling on States to ensure that all people – regardless of their nationality or legal status – are treated with dignity and respect,” said Francesco Rocca, who was elected President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) during the meetings. “As a Red Cross and Red Crescent, we must be ready to stand up and advocate for all vulnerable migrants, for all vulnerable people. We must be prepared – we are prepared – to work with the international community for the respect and dignity of all people.”

While emphasizing the need for new approaches to respond to dramatically shifting needs, the Movement also reaffirmed the non-negotiable importance of principled humanitarian action.

“In a world where faith in institutions is rapidly evaporating, great trust is placed in the symbols of the red cross and red crescent and in the neutral, impartial, independent humanitarian action that brings them to life,” said Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). “But in many places across the world, the space for such impartial action is under threat. Human dignity is disregarded, the applicability of the law is questioned, and humanitarian aid is politicized.”

One of the most pronounced examples of disregard for humanitarian law and norms is the increasing number of attacks on humanitarian aid workers and volunteers. Since the beginning of 2017 alone, more than 45 Red Cross and Red Crescent personnel have been killed in the line of duty.

Further resolutions were adopted on education, with the Movement committing to expanding its work in this area in situations of conflict and disasters. On nuclear weapons, a resolution was adopted calling on States to sign and implement the recently-adopted Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The Movement also pledged to scale up its response to the mental health consequences of humanitarian crises, and to strengthen and codify its work during pandemics and epidemics. Commitment was also made to reinforce gender equality and equal opportunities in the leadership and work of the Movement…

Evidence – Humanitarian Response :: “8 things we learned from our work on evidence this year” ALNAP

Evidence – Humanitarian Response

8 things we learned from our work on evidence this year
07 November 2017
In 2016, ALNAP launched a new webinar, ‘Bridging the Evidence Gap.’ Organised around key humanitarian challenges, it looks at how leading thinkers are ‘bridging the gap’ between evidence and practice in order to improve humanitarian action. We wanted to take stock of the rise in high-quality research and better data collection in the humanitarian sector, and explore how these activities are connecting to users and decision-makers.

We’ve discovered a lot from the five webinars produced over the last year and, in honour of Humanitarian Evidence Week, here’s what we’ve learned about the state of evidence and its use in humanitarian action today:

[1] Evidence is “in”
From the Sphere handbook to national NGOs in Somalia, humanitarian actors are taking huge strides to improve the quality of data that they use, and to strengthen the link between evidence and decision-making. It is great to witness this, and to make sure this trend continues we need to find better ways to link evidence producers with users. We looked at this issue in our first webinar with the Humanitarian Evidence Programme, the IRC and 3ie, who are bringing together large bodies of evidence to make them easier to access and use by practitioners through gap mapping and evidence synthesis approaches

[2] Not everyone knows what we mean by evidence
While many across the humanitarian sector recognise its importance, there’s not always agreement on how to define high-quality evidence. To ALNAP, evidence is information that supports or contradicts a given proposition. Others understand evidence differently, using definitions imported from the health sector where there is an emphasis on control studies and demonstrating the efficacy of interventions. While we can have different interests in an evidence agenda , it is important to move towards more consistent language to avoid confusion and lower the barriers to evidence use by practitioners.

[3] We must not forget about the basics of good data collection
Throughout the year we heard from people who are trialling new, more rigorous research approaches in order to answer difficult questions, such as what types of programming work most effectively in different sectors or what is an accurate picture of humanitarian presence on the ground in conflict settings. Yet, the answers to these questions can only be as good as the data that informs them. From poor, inconsistent monitoring data collected by operational organisations to the lack of transparent and strong methods used in humanitarian research and evaluations, the quality of our data is often far from satisfactory.

[4] Greater use of secondary data enables better decision-making
It is no secret that humanitarian organisations prefer primary data – they are able to control how this data is collected and they know where it has come from. Yet, one of the key messages from the Bridging the Gap webinar series is the importance of secondary data, closer collaboration on data collection and better data sharing between humanitarian actors at different levels, from donors to field staff. There is a risk of information overload when each humanitarian actor rushes to collect their own primary data, as the focus is often taken away from those crucial analysis tasks that make data useable for decision-making. In our second webinar, Development Initiatives, ECHO and DFID discussed how the use of shared data or more similar data gathering activities would help donors make better, more complementary decisions.

[5] The gap still needs closing and there are at least two issues preventing that from happening
As we touched on earlier, there is a definite gap between those creating evidence and those who want to use it. Users don’t know where to get evidence and producers don’t know what expectations users have. This gap is fuelled by at least two issues:

:: Accessibility of evidence
New evidence is often only available in a fragmented way: on individual organisations’ websites, portals, or at times only internally. This isn’t helpful, as we’ve learned from discussions with Sphere Handbook revision leads and humanitarian donors.

:: Unclear expectations
The expectations of end-users’ may not always be clear to those conducting research, not only in terms of the messaging but also in terms of the level of analysis that is needed for the uptake.

[6] There’s a need to communicate evidence on humanitarian action beyond the sector
Humanitarians still have a long way to go in making evidence more accessible and digestible. This is true not only within the sector, but also to the general public whose opinions have the power to sway donor governments’ agendas from one year to the next. Our default deliverable for evaluation processes is still thick, hard to read reports lacking even basic design. In this time of greater public scrutiny of humanitarian aid, we need to be prepared to respond with evidence that is solid yet easy to consume and understand by the average tax payer. With the growing number of tools and formats for the presentation of information (e.g. mobile video, podcasts, infographics, interactive websites), the presentation and delivery of compelling evidence should no longer be an afterthought.

[7] Humanitarian evaluations do not always help to paint a bigger picture
ALNAP is currently conducting an evaluation synthesis for the State of the Humanitarian System 2018 report. During this review of over 100 evaluations, it has become clear that their quality varies dramatically. Many reports have shortcomings either in methodology or execution, or both. But perhaps a more profound question to be raised is the value of evaluations for the improvement of the humanitarian system as a whole. Understandably, most reports focus exclusively on the project or programme at hand, but this poses an important challenge when attempting to synthesise findings and draw conclusions on the performance of the sector.

[8] We can’t forget the political side of evidence
We can often fall into thinking about evidence as a technical issue: put more evidence in, get better decisions out. But getting higher quality evidence shared and used is just as much about politics: who is asking the questions for which evidence is being collected, and what are the incentives for collecting accurate, relevant data. This highlights the importance of ‘Clarity of Context and Method’, a criterion of evidential quality discussed in ALNAP’s 2014 paper on Evidence. Stronger and more clearly communicated methodologies may help in the aggregation of evidence. Also, being more transparent about how research is selected, designed, and funded, can help us understand who is directing the evidence agenda in the sector and think about voices or perspectives that are being excluded from this process.

G7 Milan Health Ministers’ Communiqué – 5-6 November, 2017

Health – Governance

G7 Milan Health Ministers’ Communiqué – 5-6 November, 2017
“United towards Global Health: common strategies for common challenges”
[9 pages; Editor’s excerpts]

4. We recognize the importance of improving emergency preparedness, as well as crisis management and response, in cases of weather-related, and other disasters, epidemics and other health emergencies. In this respect, we welcome the consultation, led by the Italian Presidency and with international experts, providing science-based considerations to support informed decisions. We are determined to coordinate efforts, foster innovation, and share knowledge, information, and monitoring and foresight tools, to support the resilience of health systems and to protect the health of our populations. We underline the need to safeguard the protection of health workers and facilities during emergencies and in conflict-affected areas as provided by international humanitarian law.

5. In line with previous G7 and G20 commitments and the objectives set by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we reiterate the importance of strengthening health systems through each country’s path towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC), leaving no one behind, and of preventing health systems from collapsing during humanitarian and public health emergencies and effectively mitigating health crises. We will work together to implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. We seek to reduce global inequalities; to protect and improve the health of all individuals throughout their life course through inclusive health services; to tackle non-communicable diseases (NCDs); to sustain our commitments to eradicate polio through support to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, and to end the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis by 2030 through the support to the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and UNITAID; to support key global initiatives such as Gavi the Vaccine Alliance; and to invest in research and innovation important to global health.

6. As the world gets closer to achieving global polio eradication, we also recognize the importance of continuing our efforts to succeed and keep the world sustainably polio‐free, and, of the opportunity to leverage and transition polio assets and resources that have generated major and broader health benefits, including strengthened health systems.

7. We acknowledge the central leadership and coordinating role of WHO in country capacity building in preparing for and responding to public health emergencies, building resilient health systems, and the new strategic priority of WHO leadership to address the health impacts of climate and environmental factors. We acknowledge that WHO’s financial and human resource capacities have to be strengthened, including through adequate and sustainable funding of the WHO Emergency Programme and the Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE). We will explore supporting the World Bank’s Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) and the WHO programme on environmental degradation and other determinants of health.

25. We welcome and support the provision of health services, particularly including immunization programs for migrants and refugees, including in situations of forced displacement and protracted crises, as well as the improvement of health services in transit and destination countries. This includes making immunization programs and clinical services available and accessible to everyone, while increasing the surveillance of infectious diseases and the monitoring of NCDs and their risk factors.

26. We will seek to improve access to physical and mental health services and assistance to migrants, refugees and crisis affected populations as appropriate. We will promote the identification, sharing, and adoption of good practices to address psychosocial needs of refugees and migrants. Following the adoption of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in September 2016, and the Resolution WHA 70.15 in May 2017, the support for migrants and refugees should consider their specific needs, leaving no one behind, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

31. We invite the OECD to benchmark mental health performance focusing specifically on adolescents. We condemn sexual and gender-based violence that impacts women and girls across the globe. We need to demonstrate our commitment and our leadership in addressing sexual and gender‐based violence, including harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation, in line with SDG 5.2 and 5.3, and human trafficking, including for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

32. We will support and empower women’s, children’s and adolescents’ voices, and meaningful participation through our policy, advocacy and programmatic engagement on health and nutrition and actively involve also men and boys as agents of change.

33. We will seek to invest in their education, improving their health literacy, skills, and capacities, including children and adolescents’ gender and diversity-sensitive sexuality education, programmes, and tools.

39. We will promote R&D for new antimicrobials, alternative therapies, vaccines and rapid-point-of care diagnostics, in particular for WHO-defined priority pathogens and tuberculosis. We endeavor to preserve the existing therapeutic options. We see at this as a first step towards the acceleration of political commitments and urgent coordination, we look forward to the report to the United Nations General Assembly on AMR and the High Level Meeting on Tuberculosis in 2018.

43. We recognize the urgent need to build political momentum on the importance of addressing the impacts of environmental degradation and other factors on health and coordinated action for strengthening health systems, in line with aid effectiveness principles. This includes addressing health workforce shortages and poor health financing by countries to achieve their goals of increasing access to health care. We welcome WHO, World Bank, UNICEF, and relevant partners, including OECD, joint action for supporting countries to achieve SDG 3.8, and look forward to the progress reported at the UHC Forum 2017 next month in Tokyo.

44. We acknowledge the particular challenges of delivering health services in fragile states and conflict‐affected areas, where health systems are often compromised and ill-equipped to respond. Moreover, medical personnel and facilities in areas of conflict are increasingly under attack. Highlighting UN Security Council Resolution 2286 (2016) and UN General Assembly Resolution A RES/69/132 and UNGA 71/129, we strongly condemn violence, attacks, and threats directed against medical personnel and facilities, which have long term consequences for the civilian population and the healthcare systems of the countries concerned, as well as for the neighbouring regions. We therefore commit to improving their safety and security by upholding International Humanitarian Law.

45. We reiterate our commitment to build our International Health Regulations (IHR) core capacities and to assist 76 partner countries and regions to do the same. We also recognize the importance of developing national plans to address critical health security gaps as notably identified using the WHO’s Joint External Evaluation tool. We call on all countries to make specific commitments to support full implementation of the IHR and recognize their compliance with IHR as essential for efficient global health crisis prevention and management. We encourage other countries and development partners to join these collective efforts.

Yemen: Statements by UNICEF, Humanitarian Community On The Complete Closure Of Yemen’s Borders



Statement By The Humanitarian Community In Yemen On The Complete Closure Of Yemen’s Borders
Yemen, November 8, 2017
The humanitarian community in Yemen is greatly alarmed at the decision by the Saudi-led Coalition (SLC) to closure all of Yemeni airports, seaports and land crossings which is preventing critical humanitarian aid deliveries and commercial supplies from reaching the country and the movement of aid workers in and out of Yemen.

The humanitarian situation in Yemen is extremely fragile and any disruption in the pipeline of critical supplies such as food, fuel and medicines has the potential to bring millions of people closer to starvation and death.

There are over 20 million people in need of humanitarian assistance; seven million of them, are facing famine-like conditions and rely completely on food aid to survive. In six weeks, the food supplies to feed them will be exhausted. Over 2.2 million children are malnourished, of those, 385,000 children suffer from severe malnutrition and require therapeutic treatment to stay alive.

Due to limited funding, humanitarian agencies are only able to target one third of the population (7 million) and some two thirds of the population rely on the commercial supplies which are imported, therefore, the continued availability of commodities in the markets is essential to prevent a deterioration of food insecurity. Any food shortage will result in a further increase of food prices beyond the purchasing power of the average Yemeni. The closure has started to impact the daily life of Yemenis with the price of fuel spiking 60 per cent overnight and the price of cooking gas doubling.

The current stock of vaccines in country will only last one month. If it is not replenished, outbreaks of communicable diseases such as polio and measles are to be expected with fatal consequences, particularly for children under five years of age and those already suffering from malnutrition.

The people of Yemen are already living with the catastrophic consequences of an armed conflict – lasting for over two and a half years – that has destroyed much of its vital infrastructure and brought the provision of basic services to the brink of collapse. Any further shocks to imports of food and fuel may reverse recent success in mitigating the threat of famine and the spread of cholera.

The continued closure of Yemen’s borders will only bring additional hardship and deprivation with deadly consequences to an entire population suffering from a conflict that it is not of their own making.

The humanitarian community in Yemen calls for the immediate opening of all air and seaports to ensure food, fuel and medicines can enter the country. We ask the Saudi-led Coalition to facilitate unhindered access of aid workers to people in need, in compliance with international law, by ensuring the resumption of all humanitarian flights.

We reiterate that humanitarian aid is not the solution to Yemen’s humanitarian catastrophe. Only a peace process will halt the horrendous suffering of millions of innocent civilians.

Agency sign on by:
1. ACF
5. DRC
6. Handicap International
7. International Rescue Committee
8. MdM
9. NRC
10. Oxfam
11. PU-AMI
12. Relief International
13. Saferworld
14. Save The Children
15. ZOA
16. Mercy Corps
17. Islamic Relief
19. International Training and Development Center
20. Search for Common Ground
21. Islamic Help
22. Human Appeal
23. United Nations


Geneva Palais Briefing Note: The impact of the closure of all air, land and sea ports of Yemen on children
This is a summary of what was said by Meritxell Relano, UNICEF Representative in Yemen – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
GENEVA, 10 November 2017 – Yemen is facing the largest humanitarian crisis and the worst food crisis in the world. Nearly 7 million people do not know where their next meal will come from and the survival of millions of people depends on humanitarian assistance operations. You have all seen the statements from the humanitarian community in Yemen and from the Emergency Relief Coordinator based on his last visit on the ground. Fuel, medicines and food are essential in this context. And in order to get them in, we need access.

The recent closure of the Yemen’s airspace, sea and land ports has worsened the already shrinking space for the lifesaving humanitarian work. It is blocking the delivery of vital humanitarian assistance to children in desperate need in Yemen. And it is making a catastrophic situation for children far worse. The port of Hodeida is where most of the humanitarian supplies enter and it is essential that the port resumes its activity.

Also, because missions on the ground are not possible, blocking the movement of humanitarian workers and supplies, this means that millions of children will be deprived of lifesaving humanitarian assistance.

Let me give you some examples of the impact of the closure of the entry points to the country:
The current stocks of fuel will only last until the end of November. We need fuel to maintain health centers open and water systems functioning (both for distributing water and for treating used water). The price of existing fuel has increased by 60%.

If fuel stocks are not replenished:
:: UNICEF’s ongoing WASH response to respond to the cholera outbreak is likely to be affected. This could impact nearly 6 million people living in cholera high-risk districts.
:: The operating water supply systems and waste water treatment plants will stop functioning, causing unimaginable risks.
:: The functionality and mobility of the Rapid Response Teams, serving nearly half a million every week, will be hindered.
:: Due to shortage of fuel supply, 22 Governorates/District cold rooms/district vaccine stores are at a major risk of being shut down. Vaccines for thousands of children could be damaged.

If vaccines are blocked from reaching Yemen, at least 1 million children under the age of one will be at risk of diseases including polio and measles:

…The current stock of vaccines in the country will last 1 month
…Shortage of medical supplies will only worsen the Diphtheria outbreak recently reported in five districts of Ibb. About 87 suspected cases were reported with nine associated deaths.

With more than 60 per cent of population food insecure, the closure of the Yemen’s airspace, sea and land ports will lead to more deterioration in food security level which will worsen malnutrition rates.

Children are suffering from severe malnutrition and diseases that could be easily prevented. Children need urgent care and any disruption in bringing in therapeutic nutrition supplies will only mean that more children in Yemen will die.

UNICEF calls on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to allow and facilitate safe, sustainable, rapid and unhindered humanitarian access to all children and families in need, through land, air and sea.

Myanmar: Letter from 58 NGOs Calling for Targeted Economic Sanctions in Burma; Bangladesh vaccinaes Rohingya arrivals as measles cases r



Letter from 58 NGOs Calling for Targeted Economic Sanctions in Burma
Joint Letter – November 6, 2017
[Excerpts; List of NGOs signatories available at title link above]
The Honorable Rex Tillerson
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State

The Honorable Steven Mnuchin
Secretary of the Treasury
U.S. Department of the Treasury

The US government urgently needs to act to help address the grave human rights and humanitarian crisis that has resulted from the Burmese military’s brutal response to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA)’s August 25 attack on government posts in Burma’s Rakhine State.
As you know, since late August, Burmese security forces have waged a campaign of ethnic cleansing and committed numerous crimes against humanity against the Rohingya population, a long-persecuted ethnic and religious minority group predominantly in Rakhine State. In response to these abuses, more than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh over the past two months…

Despite international condemnation, Burmese authorities continue to restrict access to the region for most international humanitarian organizations, a UN fact-finding mission, and independent media. The commander-in-chief of the Burmese military, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, and other Burmese officials, refuse to acknowledge the atrocities their forces have committed.

We commend the U.S. government for the nearly $104 million in humanitarian assistance it has provided in fiscal year 2017, nearly $40 million of which was provided in direct response to the Rakhine State crisis, to displaced populations in Burma and refugees in neighboring countries. We also strongly support the State Department’s statement that “individuals or entities responsible for atrocities, including non-state actors and vigilantes, be held accountable.”

It is critical that the U.S. government respond to the severity and scope of the Burmese military’s ethnic cleansing campaign with effective action. To this end, we urge the administration to immediately and robustly impose targeted economic sanctions authorized under the 2008 JADE Act and the 2016 Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act…


Bangladesh steps up vaccination for new Rohingya arrivals as measles cases rise
Joint press release
COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh, 10 November 2017 – An increase in the number of suspected measles cases among the newly arrived Rohingya and their host communities in southern Bangladesh has prompted the Government and UN partners to step up immunization efforts in overcrowded camps and makeshift shelters close to the border with Myanmar.

Nearly 360 000 people in the age group of six months to 15 years among the new Rohingya arrivals in Cox’s Bazar and their host communities, irrespective of their immunization status, would be administered measles and rubella vaccine through fixed health facilities, outreach vaccination teams, and at entry points into Bangladesh.

Measles, a childhood killer disease which can be particularly dangerous among unimmunized and malnourished children, is one of the major health risks among the over 611,000 people who have crossed over to Bangladesh from Myanmar since late August and are now living in cramped and insanitary conditions in Cox’s Bazar district.

As of 4 November, one death and 412 suspected cases of measles have been reported among the vulnerable populations living in camps, settlements, and among the host communities in Cox’s Bazar. Of them, 352 cases are from Ukhia and 46 from Teknaf sub-districts, and 11 have been reported from the district hospital. Majority of cases – 398 – are among the new arrivals and 14 among the host communities. As many as 82% cases are among children under five years of age.

“Children are especially at risk from outbreaks of measles and other communicable diseases that result from the crowded living conditions, malnutrition and severe lack of water and sanitation in the camps and other sites,” said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Bangladesh Representative. “To halt any wider outbreak, it’s essential that coordinated efforts begin immediately to protect as many children as possible.”

With the risk of measles being high during such health emergencies, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), with support of WHO, UNICEF and other local partners, was quick to roll out a measles and rubella (MR) vaccination campaign, between 16 September and 4 October, within weeks of the start of the recent influx of Rohingyas from Myanmar. Nearly 136,000 children between six months and 15 years were administered MR vaccine. Additionally, around 72,000 children up to five years of age were given bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) and a dose of Vitamin A to help prevent measles related complication. The number of new arrivals has increased since the MR campaign, which also had challenges reaching out to all children in view of movement of people within the camps and settlements.

“As part of stepped up vaccination efforts, 43 fixed health facility sites, 56 outreach vaccination teams and vaccination teams at main border entry points will administer MR vaccine to population aged six months to 15 years, along with oral polio vaccine to children under five years and TT vaccine to pregnant women. These efforts are aimed at protecting and preventing the spread of measles among the vulnerable population,” WHO Representative to Bangladesh, Dr N Paranietharan, said.

More than 70 vaccinators from government and partners have been trained to deliver routine vaccination though fixed sites and outreach teams beginning tomorrow, while vaccination at entry points at Subrang, Teknaf, is ongoing since 1 November.

The fixed sites and outreach teams will also cover under two year olds with vaccines available in Bangladesh EPI schedule, such as BCG, pentavalent vaccine, oral polio vaccine, pneumococcal vaccine and two doses of MR vaccine.

As an additional measure, resources to treat measles cases are being reinforced with the distribution of vitamin A supplements, antibiotics for pneumonia and Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) for diarrhoea related to measles. To improve hygiene conditions among the refugee population, 3.2 million water purification tablets and a total of 18,418 hygiene kits have been distributed benefitting 92,090 people.

The current initiative is yet another massive vaccination drive being rolled out for the new arrivals from Myanmar and their host communities in Cox’s Bazar since 25 August this year. After covering 136 000 people in the September- October MR campaign, MoHFW and partners administered 900 000 doses of oral cholera vaccine to these vulnerable populations in two phases. The first phase that started 10 October covered over 700 000 people aged one year and above – both the new arrivals and their host communities, while the second phase from 4 – 9 November provided an addition dose of OCV to 199,472 children between one and five years, for added protection and bOPV to 236,696 children under 5 years of age