Speaking at the UN General Assembly Saturday, Bangladesh’s prime minister reiterated her call for the global community to actively step up to solve the Rohingya issue and the crisis it has caused in Bangladesh.
“More than three years have been passed but not a single Rohingya could be repatriated. The Rohingya crisis was created by [neighboring] Myanmar and the solution lies in Myanmar,” Sheikh Hasina said in her virtual speech at the 75th UN General Assembly.
“Bangladesh has a painful experience of genocide, crimes against humanity on its people, and a struggle for independence, and such an experience motivated Bangladesh to support the legitimate demands of the Palestinian people and also motivated it to allow and provide shelter to over 1.1 million forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals,” she continued, referring to the Rohingya who crossed the border starting in August 2017, fleeing a genocidal campaign in Myanmar.
She urged the world community take a more effective role to find a peaceful solution to the Rohingya issue.
She described Bangladesh as a peace-loving nation, highlighting its contributions to the UN peacekeeping missions.
For the sixth time, she said, Bangladesh was the country providing the most peacekeepers to UN missions.
Hasina expressed hope that a COVID-19 vaccine will soon be available in the world as a “global public good.”
Hasina also spoke for the rights of the Palestinian people and reiterated Bangladesh’s support for the Palestinians.
Representatives of the international community in Bangladesh concluded a two-day visit in Cox’s Bazar and the Rohingya camps on Thursday, during which they reiterated their support for the country on this issue.
Restating their commitment to the Rohingya response, they repeated that the solution to the protracted crisis lies in Myanmar, and that requires for the root causes of the problem to be addressed, according to the office of the United Nations resident coordinator in Bangladesh.
The international community representatives included the UN resident coordinator, ambassadors of the United States and the European Union, the British high commissioner, the head of humanitarian aid of the Canadian high commission, and the country director of the World Bank.
“After months of necessary Covid-19 restrictions, we are here with our partners to reaffirm our solidarity with Bangladesh and support for the Rohingya refugees and the communities generously hosting them. We have seen how the decisive action taken by the authorities has slowed the spread of Covid-19, and with the support of the international community, an effective and life-saving response continues,” said Mia Seppo, the UN resident coordinator.
US Ambassador Earl Miller said: “The Rohingya crisis remains an important priority for the United States just as it is for Bangladesh and our other international partners, and even more so in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The international community continues working toward solutions and the safe, voluntary, and dignified repatriation of Rohingya people to Myanmar, he said.
During discussions with the delegation, the Rohingyas shared how the Covid-19 situation is impacting their daily lives and how they see the future.
“Refugees have continued to play a critical role in helping their own communities protect themselves against Covid-19. They are the backbone of the response and their contributions should be fully recognized,” highlighted Canada’s head of humanitarian aid, Phedra Moon Morris.
The Prime Minister of Bangladesh has called for stronger international action to help Rohingya refugees in the country to return to neighboring Myanmar.
Bangladesh is hosting more than one million Rohingya, a mainly Muslim minority community who are stateless, most of whom fled following a wave of violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in 2017.
“More than three years have elapsed. Regrettably, not a single Rohingya could be repatriated. The problem was created by Myanmar, and its solution must be found in Myanmar. I request the international community to play a more effective role for a solution to the crisis,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in a pre-recorded speech to the UN General Assembly on Saturday.
The annual gathering of Heads of State and Government in the iconic General Assembly Hall is being held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like many of her counterparts, Prime Minister Hasina outlined steps her Government has taken to address the crisis and mitigate its impacts.
Although COVID-19 has impeded economic progress in Bangladesh, she said the authorities implemented initiatives which prioritized both lives and livelihoods, such as introducing some $13.25 billion in stimulus packages for industries, and expanding social safety nets.
“We have readily arranged food and other assistance for people who are rendered jobless due to COVID-19. This arrangement has benefitted nearly 10 million families. We have provided scholarships to four million students. We have also given cash incentives to five million people, including farmers, workers, and laborers affected by the pandemic,” she said.
“To ensure healthcare of the common people, we are providing 30 types of medicines free of cost through 18,000 community clinics and union health centers,” she continued, noting that overall, the pandemic’s impact has been minimal due to the various interventions.
Bangladesh will bring the unresolved Rohingya crisis before the world leaders today (Saturday) apparently reminding everybody of the failure to find a durable solution to the crisis amid Myanmar’s non-fulfilment of repatriation pledge, officials said, reports UNB.
Bangladesh will also seek genuine efforts from the global community to help Rohingyas return to their place of origin in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, they said.
The global leaders are staying home and joining the various sessions of the UNGA virtually due to Covid-19.
“Bangladesh will raise the Rohingya issue in the 75th UNGA. Bangladesh will seek continuation of world efforts to find a solution to the Rohingya crisis,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had placed a five-point proposal in the 72nd UNGA seeking a solution to the Rohingya problem immediately after starting ethnic atrocities against Rohingyas in Myanmar since August 25, 2017 but the proposal remains largely unaddressed.
The international community appreciated the proposal placed by the Prime Minister, a senior official said adding that Bangladesh still sticks to the proposal.
This year, Bangladesh will also highlight the accountability issue, especially the ongoing legal procedures at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Bangladesh says the Rohingya problem has been created by Myanmar and the solution also lies with Myanmar, and Myanmar’s stability and economic growth could be negatively affected if the Rohingya problem is not resolved.
Not a single Rohingya has gone back to Myanmar for lack of confidence and trust deficit between the persecuted Rohingya and the Myanmar government.
To improve the confidence, Bangladesh suggested Myanmar many options, for example, ‘go and visit’, allowing Rohingya leaders to visit Rakhine province or allowing non-military civilian observers from Myanmar’s friendly countries like ASEAN+, or China, Russia or India or any country of their choice so that Rohingya feel assured of their safety and security, DrMomen said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will virtually deliver her key speech at the 75th UN General Assembly (UNGA) on September 26 highlighting global issues including Rohingya crisis and vaccine with a call to ensure vaccine for all at an affordable cost.
The pre-recorded speech will be delivered at 8pm (Bangladesh time), Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said Monday.
The centrepiece of any new General Assembly session is the General Debate which starts on Tuesday, a week after the official opening.
Foreign Minister Momen briefed the media virtually on various aspects of the UNGA and Bangladesh’s virtual presence. State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam and Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen were also present.
ALSO READ THIS: UN WARNS OF ‘FURTHER WAR CRIMES’ AGAINST ROHINGYA IN MYANMAR
Like previous years, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will deliver her speech in Bangla.
Dr Momen said the Prime Minister will highlight vaccine issue so that everyone gets access to vaccine at an affordable price.
She will also highlight steps taken by the government in addressing people’s sufferings and protecting them from Covid-19 and the importance of working together to ensure availability of a vaccine for all and end people’s sufferings.
Prime Minister Hasina will also deliver pre-recorded speeches in a number of programmes.
The first one is scheduled to be delivered at 4am on Tuesday at the high-level event to mark the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations.
Daily Life of the Rohingya Refugees Seems Alien to the New Generation since they are in another Country.
Corona Situation, global crisis and Rohingya life are getting worse day by day because everyone is simply doing job and making money but no one is ready to set the refugees in their own place. For that, Myanmar Government is sole responsible.
Rohingya Community inside Refugees Camps are having very much boring life as if they were living in slums. The pictures here are displaying this tough over populated camp condition.
Many Rohingya men have opined that life in Myanmar was better due to tin shed houses where there was farmlands and self cultivated crops and fishes.
Now here is nothing more than reliefs and alms. Some of the people believe that going back to homeland , living in their own houses, farming their own land, grazing cows in the fields and fishing in the ponds and rivers may give them peace.
UN investigators later concluded the Myanmar military campaign was executed with “genocidal intent”. Myanmar denies Rohingya exodus that, saying the army was battling the insurgency.
To mark the third anniversary of the beginning of the crisis, here are some graphic projects issued at the time.
The scale of the unfolding refugee crisis with hundreds of thousands coming across the border every day was illustrated with this graphic. Between the refugee camps already established on the border and the coastal villages, more than 18,000 people arrived in the first five days of the crisis from Aug. 25, with the number rising by the day.
Combing daily reports issued by humanitarian groups, Reuters put together a picture of the refugees’ demographics, with details on numbers of children and those who needed nutritional help. This graphic put the numbers into context with a comparison to the world’s largest refugee camp in South Sudan and the population of Switzerland.
As the crisis unfolded, Reuters was on the ground, walking with refugees as they arrived exhausted in Bangladesh, and on the shore as boats came in.
This graphic looked at the journeys the Rohingya made, mapping out routes they took and chronicling their accounts. We portrayed life in the crowded camps, which expanded rapidly, with food and water in short supply.
A closer look at the boat passages across the Naf River and the Bay of Bengal, examining the distinctive “moon boat” vessels that many Rohingya arrived in, how much their journeys cost and how many accidents occurred.
On one disastrous voyage in late September 2017, only 17 of 80 passengers survived.
The Myanmar government has failed to ensure that nearly one million Rohingya refugees can safely return home three years since fleeing the Myanmar military’s crimes against humanity and possible genocide, Human Rights Watch said today. Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh have faced tightened restrictions on rights to information, movement, access to education, and health, and have been unlawfully killed by Bangladeshi security forces.
On August 25, 2017, the Myanmar military began a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims involving mass killing, rape, and arson that forced over 740,000 to flee, most to neighboring Bangladesh, which was already hosting an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 Rohingya refugees who had fled persecution dating back to the 1990s and after.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in January 2020 imposed provisional measures on Myanmar to prevent genocide while it adjudicates alleged violations of the Genocide Convention. The International Criminal Court (ICC) in November 2019 began an investigation into Myanmar’s forced deportation of Rohingya and related crimes against humanity. Myanmar has not complied with these international justice measures, has not permitted the United Nations to investigate grave crimes inside the country, nor conducted credible criminal investigations of its own into military atrocities.
“Myanmar’s government should recognize that the terrible suffering it has caused the Rohingya won’t disappear even amid a global pandemic,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Myanmar needs to accept an international solution that provides for the safe, voluntary return of Rohingya refugees, while an understandably stretched Bangladesh should not make conditions inhospitable for refugees who have nowhere to go.”
The 600,000 Rohingya remaining in Myanmar’s Rakhine State face severe repression and violence, with no freedom of movement or other basic rights. Desperate Rohingya who fled Myanmar face severe risks seeking refuge throughout the region.
The world in lockdown due to COVID-19 crisis has created a profound shock to our societies and economies, and women are at the heart of care and response efforts underway. Primarily as caregivers, women are not just sustaining families, but also serving as front-line responders, mainly in the health and service sector.
In Cox’s Bazar, where the world’s largest refugee camp lies, Rohingya women face further increased gender-based violence due to the heightened tension within households and within the camp. This heightened tension is often caused from restrictions on income generating activities needed to sustain families. Despite these odds, Rohingya women are serving as front-line workers to protect their families and communities.
One unique way they are doing this is by producing masks to fill a significant gap of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the market. Over 50,000 masks are being produced and the manufacturing is being managed by partners in UN Women’s five multi-purpose Women’s centers in the camps, engaging 163 Rohingya women and girls with 46 families run as single female headed households.
One of them, Shetara, a 25-year-old Rohingya woman was trained by one of UN Women’s partner organisations. A mother of 3 children, she fled to Bangladesh during the 2017 outbreak of armed conflict in Rakhine State, Myanmar, when her husband was killed. Back in Rakhine State, her family was self-sufficient owning land and livestock.
But now in the refugee camp, like more than 859,000 refugees, she is fully reliant on humanitarian aid, just to survive. With the mask production, she is now able to earn 2,720 BDT, that equals to 32 USD per week. This is her first ever income and the highest her family has ever earned. Shetara is happy, “I have money to celebrate Eid and I hope to earn more for my children’s education and for my family”
The coronavirus pandemic is aggravating tensions between Rohingya refugees and local communities in Bangladesh, underscoring long-held grievances on the margins of the massive aid response.
Bangladesh’s COVID-19 outbreak has escalated steadily since March, and nationwide lockdowns have shattered the economy in Cox’s Bazar, already one of the country’s poorest districts.
Increasingly, distrust and stigmatisation have been aimed at Rohingya refugees accused of carrying the virus. Aid groups report a rise in anti-Rohingya hate speech and racism, as well as “rapidly deteriorating security dynamics” between the two communities.
“There is a huge panic. The number of infected people is higher among the Rohingya,” said Mustafa Kamal Chowdhury, the head teacher at a high school in Cox’s Bazar, repeating one common claim. “The refugees and NGOs are hiding the information about infections.”
Distrust is also aimed at aid groups perceived to be favouring the Rohingya at the expense of local communities.
“They have established hospitals targeting the Rohingya,” said Safiul Islam Azad, a reporter at the Bangladeshi newspaper Jugantor who is based in Ukhiya, a sub-district home to the largest refugee camps. “They don’t care about local people.”
Some local aid staff working on the refugee response echo similar beliefs.
“Everything that has been done is targeting the refugees,” said Tipu Barua, an NGO worker from a nearby community.