UK sends specialist maternity nurses to help pregnant Rohingya rape victims

Specialist maternity nurses have been deployed to Bangladesh to help pregnant Rohingya rape victims.

Almost 700,000 Rohingya refugees have fled neighbouring Burma since last August amid reports of extreme violence, forming a total of more than 900,000 displaced people in the numerous sprawling camps.

The Government estimates that around 16,000 women in camps in Bangladesh are currently expecting or have given birth.

SNP MP Carol Monaghan, speaking in the Commons, called on the Government to step in and offer support.

She said: "Last August Myanmar soldiers systematically brutalised and raped young Rohingya women, nine months on and in the middle of the monsoon season many of these young girls are now giving birth to the babies conceived as a result of the rape.

"As these girls are often shunned by their communities what support is the UK Government providing to these vulnerable girls and their babies?"

Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt responded: "We've deployed specialist maternity workers to be there, in addition we are working with our partners to support Rohingya women who were raped and are pregnant.

"The deployment includes training of medical specialists, psychosocial support, clinical management of rape, emergency obstetric care and this has all been provided despite the difficulties of monsoon and other circumstances."

Mr Burt, speaking during international development questions, also assured MPs that "as much as possible was being done" to vaccinate Rohingya refugees against chorea, measles and diphtheria, which are "the most common diseases in the camps".

He added: "It is very much on people's minds at such a vulnerable time."