Dhaka, Mar 15 (UNB)— Millions around the world, including Rohingyas, are deprived of citizenship because they belong to specific minorities, UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues Fernand de Varennes has said.
“Statelessness is first and foremost a minority issue because more than three quarters of the world’s official 10 million stateless people are from minorities,” he told the Human Rights Council in Geneva recently.
“The consequences and prospects for them, their children and generations of their descendants could be dismal and tragic,” he said.
“The horrific human tragedies and the humanitarian crisis involving the one million or so members of the Rohingya minority, who are stateless, highlight the extent of the issue,” Varennes said.
He urged states, regional and international organisations and civil society to urgently work to address the issue.
More than 700,000 Rohingyas, mostly women and children, have fled violence in Myanmar since August 2017 after a brutal military offensive targeting the ethnic minority was launched. The campaign has been dubbed a “ethnic cleansing”.
Bangladesh is currently hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas.
Myanmar does not recognise the Rohingyas as citizens and dubs them ‘Bangalis’ to imply that they are illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. State-sponsored discrimination against the minority stretches back decades and many Rohingyas are forced to live in apartheid-like condition in squalid camps.
The UN expert said there are also potentially some four million Bengali and other minorities who could end up being deemed non-citizens in India’s Assam State.
Varennes expressed concerns about the removal of citizenship from individuals, who are usually members of certain minorities and considered politically unacceptable or undeserving, according to a message received here from Geneva.
Without citizenship, people who are stateless become humans without rights, he said, adding that the reality for millions of displaced people, refugees, minorities and those who are stateless is exclusion and discrimination, as they are not able to claim rights as citizens of a state.
“The result for them and possibly future generations is poverty, despair and resentment, which undermines for all of us the very universality of the human rights we proclaim.”
He also informed the Council of new initiatives including the drafting of much-needed practical guidelines that recognise and address the root causes of statelessness, and ways to tackle the human rights issues that are at its core, pointing to the UNHCR’s “ibelong” campaign aimed at eradicating statelessness by 2024.
Khulna, Mar 15 (UNB) – A woman was killed and three others were injured when a bus hit a van on Khulna-Satkhira road in Dumuria Upazila’s Chuknagar on Thursday night.
The deceased was identified as Fatima Begum, 44, daughter of Abdul Barik of Jashore.
The accident took place around 8am when the Khulna-bound bus from Satkhira hit the van, carrying four people, killing one on the spot, said Abdul Baten, assistant sub-inspector of Chuknagar Highway Police.
The injured were taken to a local hospital.
Dhaka, Mar 15 (UNB) - Members of the Bangladesh cricket team have described on social media their narrow escape from a mass shooting at a Christchurch mosque on Friday.
Players and members of the team's coaching staff were reportedly on a bus and approaching the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Hagley Park when the shooting broke out, reports news agency AP.
Bangladesh Team Manager Khaled Mashud Pilot speaks to the media following the incident of shooting in Christchurch. Blackcaps (NZC) and the Bangladesh Cricket Bord : Tigers (BCB) has been made to cancel the Hagley Oval Test pic.twitter.com/CH80ohDFMO— Bangladesh Cricket (@BCBtigers) March 15, 2019
Bangladesh team escaped from a mosque near Hagley Park where there were active shooters. They ran back through Hagley Park back to the Oval. pic.twitter.com/VtkqSrljjV— Mohammad Isam (@Isam84) March 15, 2019
Opening batsman Tamim Iqbal tweeted, "Entire team got saved from active shooters. Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers."
Performance analyst Shrinivas Chandrasekeran, also on Twitter, saying, "Just escaped active shooters. Heartbeats pumping badly and panic everywhere."
Mario Villavarayen, a strength and conditioning coach with the team, told New Zealand media the players did not see the shooter but heard shots. He said they were shaken but unhurt.
"I spoke to one of them shortly after," Vllavarayen said. They didn't see anything but heard gunshots. They were at the ground and just started running. "The coaching staff s were all at the hotel. The players just started running when they heard the shots."
The team is reported to have left the bus and fled on foot to nearly Hagley Oval where it is due to play New Zealand in a test match starting on Saturday.
Reports said the team is under lockdown in its dressing room at the stadium from which Bangladesh team manager Khaled Mashud Pilot has remained in contact with officials from New Zealand Cricket and the Bangladesh Cricket Board.
Khaled Mashud told UNB through WhatsApp that all members of the Bangladesh team are safe.
Another source told UNB that most of the Bangladeshi players were going to that mosque to offer Friday prayers after their practice.
Entire team got saved from active shooters!!! Frightening experience and please keep us in your prayers #christchurchMosqueAttack— Tamim Iqbal Khan (@TamimOfficial28) March 15, 2019
However, they were prevented from going to the mosque area by security officers saying about an attack.
The Bangladesh team instantly get back to the Hagley Oval where the third and final Test of the series will take place from March 16.
Meanwhile, the local police department has urged people to stay indoors in the city of Christchurch after the incident.
Dhaka, Mar 14 (UNB) – Five female students of Dhaka University’s Ruqayyah Hall who went on a fast unto death over their four-point demand withdrew their strike on Thursday night, threatening to resume it if their demands are not met by one day.
The five students – Saida Afrin Safi, Rafia Sultana, Srabani Shafique Dipti, Joyonti Reza and Pramik Esha -– called off their hunger strike around 10pm following discussions with DU Proctor Prof AKM Golam Rabbani, Ruqayyah Hall Provost Prof Zeenat Huda, Ducsu VP-elect Nurul Haq Nuru, BCL general secretary Golam Rabbani and its DU unit general secretary Md Saddam Hussain.
“We’ve given them (DU authorities) a one-day ultimatum to meet our four-point demand after they requested us to go back to the hall, and promised to discuss our demands,” said Dipti.
On Wednesday night, they began a fast unto death demanding the resignation of Ruqayyah Hall Provost Prof Zeenat Huda, reelection to Ducsu and hall unions, ensuring security of the protesting girls and withdrawal of all cases filed against the independent candidates and their supporters, including the Ducsu VP-elect.
Meanwhile, four candidates of the opposition panel along with a general student who began a hunger strike at the Raju Sculpture on the campus on Tuesday afternoon demanding fresh election to the Ducsu continued their strike.
Dhaka, Mar 14 (UNB) – The joint Bangladesh-India military exercise, ‘Sampriti-8’, ended in Tangail on Thursday.
The concluding ceremony of the joint drill between the armies of the two countries was held at Bangabandhu Cantonment where Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das spoke as the chief guest.
In her speech, the Indian envoy highlighted the special ties between the two nations.
A total of 60 officers, 20 JCOs and 260 members of other ranks from armies of both the countries took part in the training session that began on March 1 under the supervision of 19th Infantry Division of Bangladesh Army, said an ISPR release.
The exercise was aimed to strengthen and broaden the aspects of interoperability and cooperation between Bangladesh and Indian armies and enrich from each other’s experience while carrying out counter-insurgency or counter-terrorism operations, added the release.
For the first time in the history of "Exercise SAMPRITI" series, both the armies undertook exercise related to relief/response operations related to natural disasters -- earthquake, flood etc.
The joint exercise was first held in Assam, India in 2011 and since then both the countries have been hosting the exercise alternatively.
Last year, the exercise was conducted at Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School, Vairengte in Mizoram.
The holding of such joint exercises is symbolic of the strong defence cooperation between the two countries.