Speakers at a programme here on Thursday urged the global community to play a stronger role for the sustainable repatriation of Rohingyas to their place of origin in Rakhine state of Myanmar.
While addressing the panel discussion titled ‘Rohingya: The Need for Justice and Rights in Rakhine 2020’ at the Brac Centre Inn, they also called for imposing strict economic sanctions on Myanmar and putting pressure on its military to resolve the Rohingya crisis.
The Centre for Peace and Justice of Brac University and the Centre for Genocide Studies of Dhaka University (DU) organised the programme.
Prof Imtiaz Ahmed of DU’s International Relations department said the international community should play a stronger role over the Rohingya repatriation. “More countries should come forward to support the Rohingya repatriation. However, many countries except a few, including Canada and the Netherlands, are silent over Rohingya rights. More countries should support The Gambia, too,” he said.
He said Bangladesh faced genocide during its Liberation War and now the country is suffering for genocide against Rohingyas. “The international community should put pressure on Myanmar military.”
Underscoring the need for higher education for Rohingya people, Prof Imtiaz said DU and Brac University started research in this regard.
“Many more seminars on Rohingyas rights should be arranged in the UK and other countries of the world instead of Bangladesh only,” he added.
Philip Ruddock, mayor of Hornsby Shire of Australia, underlined the need for citizenship of Rohingyas. “Rohingya people should be repatriated with dignity and safety,” he said.
Tun Khin, president of Burmese Rohingya Organisation, UK, said the international community should continue to push Myanmar to improve conditions for Rohingya, including implementation of the provisional measures imposed by the International Court of Justice last month.
He said at least 21 Rohingya people, including four children, died and dozens others were missing after a boat capsized off the coast of southern Bangladesh while they were trying to reach Malaysia.
“Today’s drowning which was an avoidable tragedy speaks of the sufferings of Rohingyas. Denied citizenship and violently uprooted from their homes, many see no way out but to put their lives in the hands of traffickers to create a future for themselves and their children,” Tun Khin added.
Manzoor Hasan, executive director of Centre for Peace and Justice, said Rakhine state is descending into growing turmoil.
“Sadly, Myanmar’s mess has affected Bangladesh, and even worse, some countries are acting as aiders and abettors to make the situation worse. The international community can’t walk away from this situation but vigorously continue to put pressure on it by keeping the spotlight on the real issues,” he added.
Dr Hla Myint, president of Rohingya Intellectual Community Association of Australia (RICAA), Md Shahidul Haque, former foreign secretary, also spoke on the occasion.