The massive forced displacement from Myanmar to Bangladesh began in August 2017. As of 30 September 2023, a total of 979,306 Rohingya refugees/FDMN – mostly women and children – are residing in 33 camps in Ukhiya (26) and Teknaf upazilas (7) of the Cox’s Bazar district as well as on the island of Bhasan Char (Source: UNHCR Population Statistics; April 2024). Under the leadership of the Government of Bangladesh, the humanitarian response has supported thousands of refugees since August 2017. It is known that the risks of multiple forms of gender-based violence increase in conflict and refugee settings, with women and girls being at significant risk.

Rohingya refugees face multiple risks of GBV at all stages of displacement before fleeing their home country, during travel, and while seeking refuge. High levels of intimate partner violence have been documented in the region. Such violence is closely related to harmful cultural gendered norms. Additionally, reports indicate that those fleeing Rohingya refugee camps face risks of trafficking for sexual exploitation, especially at border points and during their journey. These GBV risks are tied to unsafe conditions in various contexts and the highly gendered dynamics of Rohingya displacement. Additionally, discrimination against LGBTIQ+ individuals and refugees has been reported, further exacerbating the risks of GBV.

A Safety Audit aims to promote multi-sector action to reduce the risks of GBV and provides an analysis of gaps and challenges in access to comprehensive and quality support for survivors of GBV. Given the lack of information related to the specific dynamics of GBV risks that refugees from Myanmar face in different settings, the present Safety Audit assists in filling this information gap by identifying specific GBV risks in the refugee context.

The safety audit was conducted by ActionAid Bangladesh’s CBP, CCCM, and GBV teams through risk mitigation measures between 12th and 26th May 2024. This audit was conducted in the Five camps where CBP, CCCM, and GBV are implementing their activities supported by UNHCR. The safety audit is presented as a risk mitigation exercise conducted by both GBV and non-GBV actors such as CBP and CCCM, seeking to inform programming on the identified needs to mitigate the risk of GBV in CBP and CCCM sectors. Despite efforts to ensure that needs are met, imminent risks of GBV remain high. Mainstreaming GBV services within other sectors plays a key role in assessing the risks and prioritised needs of the affected population. Furthermore, the safety audit informs GBV-related concerns for immediate response interventions at the coordination level.