Dhaka, Mar 25 (UNB) – Bangladesh missions abroad on Monday observed the Genocide Day, commemorating the brutalities and cowardly attacks carried out by the Pakistani occupation forces on the unarmed Bangalees on the black night of March 25 in 1971.
Panel discussions, screening of a documentary on the 1971 genocide by Pakistan Army and reading out messages from President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina were the highlights of the programmes.
In New Delhi, Bangladesh High Commissioner Syed Muazzem Ali urged the UN to declare March 25 as the Genocide Day.
He recalled that 3 million innocent civilians were killed, 2 lakh women raped and 10 million people were forced to leave their homes by the Pakistani troops during the nine-month War of Liberation, said a press release.
Moderated by Farid Hossain, Minister (Press), the panel discussion was participated by Durbar Ganguly, editor-in-chief of the Millennium Post newspaper, and Mohua Chatterjee, Assist Political Editor of the Times of India.
The panelists said the perpetrators of the 1971 carnage should be tried on charges of crime against humanity.
The Embassy of Bangladesh in Seoul, to raise awareness about the 1971 genocide in Bangladesh in the Republic of Korea, especially among the young generation of this country, invited some college students to the event.
The members of Bangladesh community along with the officials of the embassy also attended the event.
The event commenced with the singing of the national anthem followed by reading out of verses from the Holy Quran, Geeta, Bible, and Tripitaka and conducting of special prayer for the salvation of the departed souls of the martyrs.
Then, a one-minute silence was observed with candlelight vigil in remembrance of the martyrs of 25th March and the War of Independence.
Also, a booklet titled “Bangladesh Genocide Revisited” was distributed among the attendees.
During the discussion, the speakers focused on the importance of the recognition of the 1971 genocide that was committed 48 years ago.
Jung Jae-hee, a student of Shingu College of Korea, in her speech in Bangla, highlighted the similarities of historical struggle between Bangladesh and the Republic of Korea. She also paid rich tributes to the 3 million martyrs and the freedom fighters of the Liberation War.
Ambassador Abida Islam paid rich tributes to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, all the martyrs and freedom fighters of the War of Independence, said a press release.
She mentioned that this genocide is not mentioned in any official and historical narratives of the South Asia region, the UN or any other international circles. She also underlined that once recognised and documented by the international community, no fabrication of information on the facts of the 1971 genocide in Bangladesh would be possible.
A poetry recital on the Liberation War followed the discussion session.
Dhaka, Mar 25 (UNB) - Regional representative of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), UNHCR Khaled Khalifa on Monday said only 14 percent of the 2019 Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis has been funded so far against US$ 920 million to meet the massive needs of Rohingyas and their host communities.
“We’re hoping that the JRP will receive a higher level of funding than last year’s. Until now, the plan is funded by only 14 percent. This is a very small percentage,” he told a press conference in a city hotel.
More than 745,000 Rohingya people have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine State to Bangladesh since August 2017, escaping violence in Myanmar. Bangladesh is currently hosting over 1.1 million Rohingya people.
On February 15 in Geneva, United Nations aid agencies and NGO partners launched the JRP for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis seeking US$ 920 million to meet the massive needs. The 2018 JRP was funded at 69 per cent, or US$ 655 million received against US$ 950 million requested.
“We hope this year we’ll reach 100 percent. That’s what we hope and aspire to,” Khalifa said adding that every penny short in funding means less service somewhere that should be provided to refugees or members of the host communities.
He made it clear that the JRP does not target Rohingya people only but it also targets the host communities which is very important element to minimise social envy.
“Unfortunately, most of the response plans around the world are underfunded. This means that refugees and people in need don’t receive the optimum service that we hope to provide them,” said Khalifa while responding to a question.
It is true that the world is dealing with various competing emergencies and it’s a very sad situation that emergencies compete for funding, he said.
Earlier, representatives from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA), European Commission, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait visited Cox’s Bazar Rohingya camps as part their mission to Bangladesh on March 21-25.
Khalifa said they are trying to coordinate among the various donors of the crisis and trying to find complementarity and encourage all donors to work together in order to provide better support to the JRP.
“We’ve seen lot of progress in Cox’s Bazar on the ground. The situation is much better compared to last year’s,” he said.
The delegation members observed and assessed firsthand the humanitarian needs and challenges on the ground of both the Rohingyas and the host communities.
They met interlocutors from the government and United Nations to understand ongoing and emerging needs towards the 2019 Joint Response Plan.
OCHA assistant secretary-general for humanitarian partnerships with the Middle East and Central Asia Rashid M Khalikov, European Commission director of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific Androulla Kaminara, assistant supervisor general of administration and finance of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre Dr Salah Fahad Al Mazroa and Ambassador of Kuwait to Bangladesh Adel Mohammaed Hayat were, among others, present at the press conference.
Dhaka, Mar 25 (UNB) – A weeklong festival titled ‘Bangladesh Festival’ ended in Doha, the capital of Qatar, on Monday celebrating the history, culture and attractions of Bangladesh.
The festival included a drawing competition for children, photo exhibition and screening of the critically acclaimed film, Aynabaji.
In collaboration with the Bangladesh Forum Qatar, the Embassy of Bangladesh in Doha hosted the festival.
Bangladesh Ambassador to Qatar Ashud Ahmed inaugurated the festival at the Qatar Cultural Village on March 19. He also inaugurated the premier screening of the film “Aynabaji”.
Locals and foreigners in Qatar, along with diplomats from India, Nepal, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, South Korea, Uruguay, Portugal, Ukraine and Turkey along with citizens of Qatar and tourists attended the gala ceremony.
Prominent and prolific photographer Nigel Doyez attended ‘the photo exhibition’ segment of the festival as the judge, said a press release on Monday.
Along with the Aynabaji premier show, the Bangladesh Festival featured a photo exhibition and a food festival.
Iftekher Ahmed, President of Bangladesh Forum Qatar during the festival said, “The film ‘Aynabaji’ was a key part of our festival. It was our sincere effort to present an acclaimed and unique cinema to our visitors and viewers. The drawing competition for children received huge number of participants.”
Dhaka, Mar 25 (UNB) - The US Embassy in Dhaka, including its consular section, will remain closed on Tuesday on the occasion of Bangladesh’s Independence Day.
The American Center with the Archer K. Blood Library and the EducationUSA Student Advising Center will also remain closed on the day.
However, emergency services for the American citizens will be available, said a press release on Monday.
Dhaka, Mar 25 (UNB) - The United Nations (UN) has appreciated Bangladesh’s efforts to seek alternative locations for Rohingyas but sought clarification about the modalities of potential relocation of Rohingya people to Bhasan Char.
The government of Bangladesh has said it plans to relocate Rohingya people from Cox’s Bazar to Bhasan Char which could help to “decongest” the overcrowded settlements in Cox’s Bazar.
Bangladesh is currently hosting over 1.1 million Rohingya people in Cox’s Bazar district and most of them arrived here since August 25, 2017.
“We’re seeking clarification about the modalities of any relocations, the living conditions that would be provided and the basic rights and services that refugees would be able to access if they decided to relocate to Bhasan Char,” said the UN in Bangladesh in a press statement on Monday.
The UN is also seeking clarification on issues of governance and access that the UN and partners would have to the island.
The UN’s position is to “engage constructively” with the government of Bangladesh on Bhasan Char.
“We’re discussing with the Government the critical protection and operational issues that should be considered before any relocations take place, in order to ensure that refugees would be able to live in safe and sustainable living conditions on Bhasan Char,” the statement reads.
The UN said the viability of any Rohingyas relocations to Bhasan Char and the possibility of establishing a humanitarian response operation on the island would require thorough assessments including technical assessments of the island and careful planning.
“We’re also examining the potential operational implications of setting up a humanitarian response on Bhasan Char, including the requirements, time frames and costs involved in providing services,” reads the UN statement.
The UN considers that any relocation to Bhasan Char “must be on a voluntary basis.”
The UN said Rohingya people should have relevant, accurate and timely information on the project from the Government, so they can make free and informed decisions.
The views and concerns of refugees must be heard and addressed as part of the consultative process, reads the statement on the potential relocation of Rohingyas by the government of Bangladesh to Bhasan Char.