PM to place four point proposal at UN to solve Rohingya crisis

NEW YORK Putting emphasis on a long term solution to

the protracted Rohingya crisis, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said she is

going to place a four point proposal at the ongoing United Nations General

Assembly (UNGA) to this end.

Let me reiterate the following points which I shall be presenting to the

(current) 74th UNGA Session, she said.

The proposals, she said, are:

1. Myanmar must express clear political will manifested by concrete actions

for sustainable return and reintegration of Rohingyas to Myanmar.

2. Myanmar must build trust among the Rohingyas by discarding

discriminatory laws and practices and allowing go and see visit to the

Northern Rakhine by the Rohingya representatives.

3. Myanmar must guarantee security and safety of the Rohingyas, among

others, by deploying civilian monitors from international community in the

Rakhine state.

4. International community must ensure that the root causes of Rohingya

problem are addressed and atrocity crimes committed against the Rohingyas are

accounted for. OIC initiative to take the issue to ICJ is indeed a

significant step towards that direction.

The prime minister made the announcement while addressing a High level

Event on the Situation of Rohingya Minority in Myanmar here on Tuesday

afternoon local time.

The Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the UN and the OIC Secretariat

organised the event at the UN Headquarters.

Sheikh Hasina mentioned that in the past, she had offered a five point

proposal to the United Nations during the 72nd UN General Assembly.

The proposals included full implementation of recommendations of Kofi

Annan Commission, and establishment of a civilian monitored safe zone in

the Rakhine State, she said.

The prime minister reiterated that the Rohingya crisis is a political one

deeply rooted in Myanmar and thus, its solution has to be found inside

Myanmar.

I reiterate, the root of the Rohingya problem lies in Myanmar and the

solution has to be found in Myanmar, she said.

Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohammad, OIC Secretary General Dr.

Yousef bin Ahmed Al Othaimeen and Saudi Foreign Minister Dr Ibrahim bin

Abdulaziz Al Assaf also spoke at the event.

Besides, ministers and representatives of different countries including the

USA, the UK, Canada, Germany, Belgium, European Union, Sweden, the

Netherlands, Turkey, Sweden, Singapore, Kuwait, Serbia, the Philippines and

Gambia also joined the event.

The prime minister said while humanitarian assistance and other supports to

the Rohingyas address their immediate needs, it is important to achieve a

long term solution in Myanmar to the protracted Rohingya crisis.

They must be able to return to their homes where they lived for

centuries, she said.

The prime minister said: It's regrettable that we are passing yet another

year without any solution to the Rohingya crisis. The plight of the Rohingyas

persecuted in the Northern Rakhine state of Myanmar is continuing

unabated.

According to the UN reports, she said, Rohingyas have been victims of

atrocity crimes.

The premier said the issue of accountability for human rights violations

against the Rohingyas would be another crucial factor to ensure sustainable,

safe and voluntary return.

Bangladesh is following the ongoing proceedings of the International

Criminal Court we believe that OIC can also play a major role in

fulfilling the need to ensure accountability through the Ad Hoc Ministerial

Group on Accountability, she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh appreciates the adoption of the Joint

Communique of the 14th Islamic Summit Conference of OIC held in Makkah Al

Mukarramah, on 31 May 2019.

It urged the adhoc Ministerial Committee led by the Gambia to take

immediate measures to launch the case at the International Court of Justice

on behalf of the OIC. We believe it is time to act upon the decision

expressed in the OIC Summit Joint Communique, she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has been hosting 1.1 million forcibly

deported Myanmar Nationals. We've opened our borders for these people in the

spirit of humanitarianism, which is a pervading moral fiber of Islam, she

said.

The prime minister said Bangladesh will continue to do everything possible to

ensure the basic needs of the Rohingyas pending their return to their

homeland.

We've allocated over 6800 acres of forest land for sheltering them

incurring huge ecological hazard and environmental destruction, she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has extended all kinds of humanitarian

assistance including shelter, food, health, water and sanitation to the

Rohingyas.

She went on saying: A considerable number of public sector employees were

deployed to coordinate management and law and order in the camps.

The premier said new and additional physical infrastructures including

roads and power supply arrangements had to be built on an ongoing basis. As

many as 219 medical facilities were set up over time, out of which fifty are

being operated by the government, she said.

Sheikh Hasina said in terms of financial assistance, as of now, around USD

120 million has been released from the government's exchequer for direct

assistance to the Rohingya.

Among additional measures, by instance, our Ministry of Social Welfare

took charge of the 39,841 Rohingya orphans registered so far I also

sanctioned more than USD 2.5 million from my special relief fund in support

of the host community, she said.

The premier said to address the congestion problem in the camps as well as

to facilitate humanitarian services to the displaced Rohingyas, the

government is developing Bhasan Char Island with all the provisions to

protect the displaced Rohingyas.

In Bhasan Char, the Rohingyas will be provided with better housing

facility and also livelihood opportunity till they return to Myanmar, she

said.

Speaking at the event, Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohammad said

the situation in Myanmar is not any better. Many Rohingyas have become

internally displaced persons (IDPs) languishing in camps in Rakhaine, he

said.

Dr Mahathir said when the world likened the IDP camps to those notorious

concentration camps of the past, the Myanmar government has denied quickly.

Yet the Myanmar authorities have denied access to some UN officials and

humanitarian aid workers. If Myanmar has nothing to hide why bar others from

seeing the situation in Rakhaine? he questioned.

Let these officials and aid workers visit, inspect and assist those

living in the camps Myanmar should demonstrate that it is serious in

alleviating the crisis, he said, adding in doing so repatriation should be

the main priority.

The Malaysian premier said two attempts have been made to repatriate some

of the refugees, but both have failed.

Reasons for these are obvious no one would return if they do not feel

that their safety is guaranteed, he said.

Dr Mahathir said Malaysia will continue to insist that repatriation be

done in a safe voluntary and dignified manner. This can only be done by

granting full citizenship to the Rohingyas, he said.

He, however, said the Myanmar authorities had manipulated the Rohingya

issue to incite fear, hatred and violence.

Thus, merely considering the idea of granting citizenship is

unacceptable. It is obvious that Myanmar's attempt on ensuring accountability

has failed, he said.

Dr Mahathir continued: How would such attempt work if the perpetrators

responsible for the atrocities are part of the system?

He said it is clear that the Myanmar government is unwilling to resolve

the crisis. Therefore it is left up to us the international community

to do something with about the situation, he said.

The Malaysian premier said the UN should play its role taking into account

that it was established in hopes of preventing future human made miseries.

Its silence is deafening, he said.

Without Security Council action, he said, other must do their part to

resolve the crisis and bring perpetrators to justice.

Dr Mahathir said Malaysia commends the positive efforts of the OIC in

addressing the Rohingya issue at the international fora.

And for the decision to bring the matter to the International Court of

Justice. We hope other countries would support the OIC to ensure that the

perpetrators do not get away with the heinous crimes that they have

committed, he said

Highlighting Malaysia's humanitarian assistance for the Rohingyas, Dr

Mahathir said, We will continue to help the Rohingyas within our means and

capacity.

He said Malaysia has done and will continue to do what it can.

Nevertheless we hope others would also join us and Bangladesh in our

resolve to end the miseries that have befallen the Rohingyas. We need to put

an end to the crisis and we need to do it now.

Terming atrocities on Rohingyas as the genocide in Cambodia, he said, Let

us start by calling a spade, a spade. What happened in the Rakhine state is

genocide.

The Malaysian premier said what took place were the mass killings,

systematic rape and other gross violation of human rights.

These resulted in Rohingyas fleeing the country en masse. Most ended in

Cox's Bazar. on this, we commend Bangladesh for all it has done in hosting

more than 1.2 million Rohingya refugees.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen delivered the welcome address, while

Chairperson of Bangladesh National Advisory Committee for Autism and

Neurodevelopmental Disorders Saima Wazed Hossain, Minister of Environment,

Forest and Climate Change Md Shahab Uddin, State Minister for Foreign Affairs

Md Shahriar Alam and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on

Foreign Affairs Ministry Muhammad Faruk Khan were present on the occasion.

Briefing reporters after the event, the foreign minister said the

participants extended a stronger support to Bangladesh on the Rohingya issue.

They also want safe, secure and dignified repatriation of the Rohingyas

from Bangladesh, Momen said.

Highly praising Bangladesh's noble gesture of hosting over 1.1 million

Rohingyas, everybody has assured that they will persuade Myanmar to take back

their nationals from Bangladesh, the foreign minister said.

I think it's a great achievement for Bangladesh, he said.

The foreign minister said the event was followed by a pledging session

organised by Saudi Arabia where different OIC member countries promised to

donate a total of US$270 million to the UNHCR.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)