Dhaka, Dec 13 (UNB) - The US House Committee on Foreign Affairs has declared it genocide in Myanmar as its military and security forces unleashed a targeted campaign against the Rohingya people.
Mentioning killing unarmed civilians, raping women and children, burning down villages, and planting landmines along border areas transited by refugees fleeing for their lives, the House of Representatives took a stand on Thursday by passing a resolution declaring these crimes "genocide".
On the House floor earlier this week, Chairman Ed Royce said, “With this resolution, the House will take the important step of naming the atrocities committed against the Rohingya people in Burma what they are: genocide."
The measure also accomplishes a number of other important goals. "It provides a thorough accounting of the crisis, calls out the complicit Burmese Government, urges the Secretary of State to join us in formally declaring genocide and promotes multilateral agreement on that declaration."
Importantly, the resolution also called for the immediate pardon and release of two journalists who were framed and jailed by Myanmar authorities for shining a light on some of the atrocities by government forces.
The Rohingya people, predominantly of Myanmar’s Rakhine state, are often called the world’s most persecuted minority.
The Rohingya are essentially stateless people, as the Myanmar government refuses to recognize them as citizens – despite the fact that the Rohingya people have lived in Burma for generations, said Royce.
Further, the House chair said, institutional restrictions on the Rohingya have impacted their rights to study, work, travel, access health services, practice religion and even marry.
The most recent wave of persecution began in August of 2017, when Myanmar security forces and civilian mobs began a horrific wave of attacks.
Mass murder, rape and destruction of villages throughout Rakhine State has been documented, Royce.
These atrocities have driven more than 700,000 Rohingya from their homes to Bangladesh, bringing the total Rohingya refugee population there to nearly a million.
"Bangladesh has been very generous in accepting all these refugees in the face of such dire circumstances," said Royce.
The House chairman said, "A year and a half later, the evidence is overwhelming. As I said at our hearing on the subject this past September, it is time that we take the next step in declaring that these crimes amount to genocide."
In September, the State Department released a report on the stomach-turning, systematic and widespread acts of violence against the Rohingya in Northern Rakhine State, but failed to label these atrocities genocide.
The State Department’s investigation revealed countless heart-wrenching pieces of evidence, like the account of one woman who hid in bushes as she watched Burmese soldiers throw infants and toddlers into a river to drown and shot their mothers who tried to save them.
"The United States has a moral obligation to call these crimes genocide. Failing to do so gives the perpetrators cover and hinders efforts to bring those accountable to justice. With this resolution, the House fulfills its part of that duty," Royce said.
The House chair said Congress has a proud legacy of declaring genocide when warranted – just as they did over two years ago when the House voted unanimously to declare ISIS’ atrocities against religious minorities in Iraq and Syria genocide. "It is time to take this sober step again."
Royce urged all of his colleagues to join him in supporting this measure and fulfilling their responsibility to reinforce the universal values they hold dear.
Dhaka, Dec 13 (UNB) - Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali met newly elected Chief Election Commissioner of India Sunil Arora at his office in New Delhi on Wednesday.
It was a courtesy call with Arora who assumed office on December 2, said an official on Thursday without giving further details.
The Indian Election Commission will hold the 2019 general election under him, a 62-year-old former bureaucrat.
Besides, Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Odisha, Maharashtra, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim are scheduled to be held next year, according to Indian media.
Dhaka, Dec 13 (UNB) - The US Embassy in Dhaka including its consular section will remain closed on Sunday on the occasion of Victory Day, a national holiday in Bangladesh.
The American Center, Archer K Blood American Center Library and the Education USA Student Advising Centre will also remain closed on the occasion.
However, the emergency services for American citizens will be available, said a press release
For any emergency, anyone can call to 5566-2000 and ask for the duty officer, it added.
Dhaka, Dec 13 (UNB) - Like each year, the United Nations General Assembly has unanimously adopted Bangladesh’s flagship resolution on the ‘Culture of Peace’.
Chargé d' Affaires and Deputy Permanent Representative (DPR) of Bangladesh Permanent Mission to UN Tareq Md Ariful Islam floated the proposal on Wednesday.
“Over the years Bangladesh remained committed to the values and principles enshrined in the UN Charter and worked alongside the international community in promoting and protecting peace. Government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina remains committed to the issue, and underscores the importance of a ‘whole-of-society’ approach in our national context for promoting a culture of peace," he said.
Tareq also said they will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace on September 13, 2019.
"To this end, the draft Resolution requests the President of the 73rd session of the General Assembly to give special attention to its appropriate and befitting observance by holding the High-Level Forum on that date next year, which will be an opportunity for renewing our shared commitment to further strengthen the global movement for the culture of peace”, he said.
The DPR also mentioned culture of peace is an aspiration of all humankind. "Promoting and inculcating a mindset of a culture of peace is at the core of the creative management of differences and divisions”.
The concept of ‘Culture of Peace’ as a General Assembly (GA) agenda was first mooted by Bangladesh in 1999.
The whole world celebrated “Decade of Culture of Peace” following adoption of a resolution at the GA.
The Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the UN had been taking this follow-up resolution to the General Assembly every year since 2000, and each year it got adopted unanimously, said the Bangladesh Mission.
The main theme of this resolution is -if intolerance and hatred could be abolished from the society, the world would see lasting peace.
This year the resolution recognized the contribution of a culture of peace towards combating terrorism as well as peace building and sustaining peace; it also attached special importance to the role of the children and youth by engaging them more in promoting a culture of peace in the society inculcating values such as peace, tolerance, openness, inclusion and mutual respect.
Everyone has pledged to work together to implement this important resolution.
This year 101 countries from all the region of the world co-sponsored this resolution.
Despite various tensions across the globe, the continued huge support to this year’s resolution comes as a testimony to the confidence of international community on Bangladesh.
It also endorses the importance of ‘Culture of Peace’ in involving all people in global development efforts.
Dhaka, Dec 12 (UNB) - Bangladesh has urged the UN member States to comply with their obligations for search and rescue at sea, and work towards addressing the push and pull factors for such irregular movements.
“We remain particularly concerned over large movements of refugees and migrants at sea, mostly in perilous situations,” said Chargé d’affaires at Bangladesh Permanent Mission to the UN Tareq Md Ariful Islam.
He said this while delivering Bangladesh statement under the plenary agenda ‘Oceans and Law of the Sea’ of the 73rd UN General Assembly at General Assembly Hall in New York on Tuesday.
In the renewed aftermath of the Rohingya humanitarian crisis from Myanmar’s Rakhine State since August last year, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN said they draw attention to all concerned regional countries to the need for strengthening surveillance and interception along the coastal areas.
“We take full note of the Secretary-General’s observation made on this under chapter - migration by sea’ in his report on ‘oceans and law of the sea,” Tareq said.
He said healthy oceans are critical for sustaining life, eliminating poverty and promoting prosperity on this planet.
“With the pacific settlement of maritime border issues with neighboring states Myanmar and India in 2014, the government of Bangladesh embarked on unlocking the potentials from better access to sea and ocean resources,” Tareq said.
He said the blue economy is now considered as a new 'development space' in Bangladesh.
Shipping, sea ports, shipbuilding and recycling, marine fisheries, sea salt, coastal tourism, ocean energy, land reclamation, maritime safety and surveillance, human resources development and governance have been identified as key priority issues for the development of blue economy.
“These issues have been addressed in our recently under taken ‘Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100’ under the visionary leadership of our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” he said.
Tareq said capacity building and transfer of marine technology are of utmost importance for the developing states, particularly in LDCs.
“Among other issues, we draw the attention of our development partners to the suitable utilisation of the UN Technology Bank for LDCs for this purpose,” he said.
He reaffirmed Bangladesh’s commitment to UNCLOS as the constitution of the oceans, establishing the overarching legal framework within which all activities in oceans and seas must be carried out. “We urge all the remaining States to join the convention for attaining its universality.”