Dhaka, Aug 30 (UNB) – Visiting British State Minister Alistair Burt on Thursday said UN Fact-Finding Mission’s report on the Rohingya crisis is a stern test for the Security Council to act for resolving the problem.
“The Fact-Finding Mission report is very hard-hitting…this is a very stern test (for the UN Security Council),” he said.
Burt, the UK’s State Minister for the Middle East at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Minister of State at the Department for International Development, came up with the remarks at a press conference at the British High Commission here following his visit to Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar.
Stating that the UN report is much more direct and it gives clear indication and evidence that warrant discussion of genocidal acts and crimes against humanity in Rakhine State, he said, adding that they expect some actions from the global leaders.
He, however, said it may take some time for taking actions.
The junior British minister thinks there is no easy and quick solution to the Rohingya crisis as the problem is not seen the same way by all the neighbours, the states in the region as well as those countries outside the region. “This is a matter of discussion and negotiation.”
He said the UN Fact-Finding Mission’s report presented the evidence of Myanmar’s wrongdoings, and now the global community needs to raise voice together to resolve the Rohingya crisis.
Burt assured that his country will continue to provide support for the Rohingyas in Bangladesh as long as it gives them shelter and takes care of the displaced people. “The UK has the tremendous interests in the crisis affecting Rohingya people.”
He said their country is extremely concerned over the Rohingya crisis and the prevailing situation. “People should be repatriated. All refugees say they want to go home, and they would not go home unless it is safe, secure and their identity is recognised.”
The UK state minister highly appreciated the sacrifices made by the local people and the Bangladesh government for giving Rohingyas shelter, security and sharing resources and opportunities with them.
Mentioning that the UK’s relation with Bangladesh is very strong, Burt hoped that it will continue to grow in the days to come.
About the next general election, he said their country thinks a participatory election through creating a level-playing field is very vital. “Our position is the same as it was in the past. Everyone must take part in the election… a government’s legitimacy is enhanced when everyone participates.”
Burt also said an inclusive election can help develop the nation and strengthen the democracy.
Referring to his Wednesday’s meeting with Bangladesh State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, the British state minister said he is hopeful that an atmosphere conducive to a fair and inclusive election will be created here.
Dhaka, Aug 30 (UNB) – Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed on Thursday said Bangladesh does not require the Generalised System of Preference (GSP) facility from United States as the country does not get the facility on its most exported items to US.
“We will not apply for GSP facility, if they (US) want they can provide the facility but we don’t think it is necessary and so we didn’t talk about the GSP in today’s meeting”, said the minister while talking to the reporters after a meeting with James Golden, Executive Director of the Office of Asia, US Department of Commerce.
Quoting James Golden, Tofail said that the US embassy in Dhaka would set up a business wing for easier trade between the countries.
Bangladeshi businessmen fetched 5.98 billion dollars from exports to US in the last financial year.
Dhaka, Aug 29 (UNB) - UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Cate Blanchett has said the focus of all their efforts must be to provide much-needed support inside Bangladesh while working to ensure conditions in Myanmar are conducive to Rohingyas’ return to their homeland.
"We have failed the Rohingya before. Please, let us not fail them again," she said while addressing at the UN Security Council on the Rohingya crisis in New York on Tuesday.
The UNHCR envoy said with only 33 per cent of the refugee operation funded – amounting to less than 70 cents per person per day – this is not surprising. "Rather, it is quite embarrassing."
"A clear pathway to full citizenship is essential. This is not a luxury. This is not a privilege. This is a basic right that all of us here enjoy. A right that the Rohingya do not have," she added.
She said together, they need to change the future of Laila, of Yousuf, of Gul Zahar and of all the Rohingya living in Myanmar, in Bangladesh and beyond.
"There are no short cuts. There are no alternatives."
Cate visited Bangladesh last March as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, to see what she could contribute in responding to the massive humanitarian needs unfolding there.
"Nothing could have prepared me for the extent and depth of the suffering I saw," she said.
"An eighteen year old woman who I’ll call Laila is chief among my memories."
One of the 720,000 stateless Rohingyas who fled violence and abuse in Myanmar’s Rakhine State since August 2017, Laila fled her burning village with her infant son, Yousuf.
She said as this Council and the UN work with the Government of Myanmar to ensure this, urgent efforts are still needed for the Rohingya in Bangladesh.
"It is important to recall that this is not the first wave of massive forced displacement of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to Bangladesh in the past 40 years. The scale of displacement is so large and so severe that today, there are more Rohingya living in exile than in Myanmar itself."
In 1978, some 200,000 Rohingya refugees streamed into Bangladesh, fleeing brutality and widespread abuse. Gul Zahar, a young Rohingya woman, was among those who fled.
Fourteen years later, in 1992, another wave of violence forced 250,000 Rohingya refugees to seek safety once again in neighboring Bangladesh. Once again, Gul Zahar was among those who fled.
Today, there are 900,000 stateless Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Gul Zahar, now 90-years of age, is sadly among them once more.
Four decades following her initial flight, Gul lives in abject poverty in Bangladesh with the sole wish that her great grandchildren will have a better future.
Cate said the need for this future to transpire inside Myanmar has never been more urgent.
"If we fail to act now, Gul’s grandchildren, like thousands of others, will be unable to escape this relentless cycle that generations of Rohingya have experienced," she said.
The UNHCR envoy said Bangladesh’s recent response, receiving over 700,000 refugees in a matter of months and providing them safety, is one of the most visible and significant gestures of humanity in our time. "But the needs are vast. The suffering is acute. Much more international support is needed."
Many Bangladeshi villagers living nearby, with very little to call their own have been helping the Rohingya refugees over the past year.
"If people with so little can step up, why can’t we do better?" Cate said.
She said Rohingyas need more than just food and water, informal schools, temporary shelter. "They need a future."
Cate said it is imperative that governments, development and humanitarian agencies, the private sector and individuals work in solidarity to find innovative ways to help the refugees and the Bangladeshi host communities.
The denial of their rights to move; their right to marry; their right to work; their right to health care and education, renders them among the most vulnerable people on the planet, she said.
"Refugees move back home when it is safe and secure to do so. The Rohingya cannot return to the very conditions they were forced to flee. They cannot settle for half solutions," she mentioned.
Cate implored this Council not to forget this imperative and to support all efforts to make it a reality.
In the meantime, to encourage more robust international support required to meet urgent and pressing needs within Bangladesh.
Dhaka, Aug 29 (UNB) - Canada has said they along with the international community must hold the perpetrators of violence against Rohingyas to account and support all the efforts towards building lasting peace and reconciliation in Myanmar.
“We and the international community have a grave responsibility to respond to the acute needs of the persecuted Rohingya. We cannot be silent," Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau said in a joint statement on the continuing crisis facing the Rohingya people of Myanmar.
They supported the findings of the UN report released on Monday, which concluded that senior officials in the Tatmadaw chain of command should be investigated and prosecuted so that a competent court can determine their responsibility for genocide in relation to the situation in Rakhine state.
They said Canada has demonstrated its continued and strong commitment to protecting the human rights of the Rohingya and other ethnic groups in Myanmar, according to the statement UNB received from Canadian Foreign Ministry.
In February and June 2018, Canada imposed targeted sanctions on senior military officials as a result of the role they played in the oppression, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya in the violent operations launched in Rakhine state in August 2017.
Since August 2017, the international community has been outraged by the horrific campaign of violence and gross human rights violations in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
The Rohingya people have been subjected to a decades-long campaign of systematic discrimination perpetrated by the Myanmar security forces, including the most repugnant sexual violence which has led to nearly 725,000 Rohingya fleeing the country into Bangladesh.
Without justice, equity and respect for fundamental rights in Myanmar, there can be no peace, said the two Canadian ministers.
With the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the United Nations Development Programme, they said, Canada will continue to advocate for the full and unimpeded access to Rakhine state by the United Nations and international organisations and the voluntary, dignified, safe and sustainable return of refugees.
Canada remains committed to addressing the humanitarian and security crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh, they said.
Since the beginning of 2017, Canada has provided $66.1 million for aid partners to deliver lifesaving, assistance for refugees that supports women and girls, displaced people and the communities that are hosting them.
Canada also appointed a Special Envoy to Myanmar, Bob Rae, whose final report and recommendations led to the development of a comprehensive strategy to meet the needs of those displaced and most vulnerable in Myanmar and Bangladesh.
As part of this strategy, in May 2018, Canada committed $300 million over the next three years to support a coordinated response to meet the needs of those displaced and other vulnerable populations, they said.
This was followed by an announcement of nearly $3.8 billion by Canada, the European Union, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the World Bank at the G7 Summit for quality education for women and girls living in crisis, conflict-affected and fragile states.
On the question of accountability and impunity, we must ensure that those responsible for the atrocities and human rights violations committed in Rakhine state, including sexual and gender-based violence, are brought to justice, said the two ministers.
They said Canada will continue to work closely with other states, international organisations and partners as well as civil society to hold the perpetrators of international crimes in Myanmar to account, including through the establishment of an international accountability mechanism.
Dhaka, Aug 29 (UNB) - Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali on Wednesday urged the Bimstec foreign ministers to conclude the Bimstec Free Trade Area (FTA) and its constituent MoUs and protocols for its early implementation.
Minister Ali also urged all to renew their pledge to build Bimstec as an efficient, high-performing and result-oriented regional organisation.
The Foreign Minister made the appeal at the 16th Bimstec Foreign Ministers’ meeting held at Kathmandu, Nepal.
He stressed cooperation in certain key sectors such as connectivity, energy, poverty alleviation, climate change, people-to-people contact, among others.
Minister Ali also emphasised prioritisation and rationalisation of the sectors and inclusion of new areas such as Blue Economy, Mountain Economy, participation of civil society and business sectors cooperation.
Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali presided over the meeting.
The 16th Bimstec Ministerial Meeting took stock of the progress made since the 3rd Bimstec held in Myanmar in 2014 and the Bimstec leaders’ commitment made at Goa Retreat in October 2016 in India.
During the meeting, Mahmood Ali reiterated Bangladesh commitment to the Bimstec cooperation and briefed the meeting about the activities and events Bangladesh undertook during the last four years, including hosting the Bimstec Secretariat in Dhaka.
He called upon the Bimstec foreign ministers to review the structure of Bimstec in particular in its areas of cooperation and strengthen the Secretariat.
The Foreign Ministers finalised the agenda for the Fourth Bimtec Summit beginning on Thursday.
It includes a text of the proposed Joint Declaration by the leaders of Bimstec under the theme, “Towards A Peaceful, Prosperous and Sustainable Bay of Bengal Region,” an MoU on the Establishment of Bimstec Power Grid Inter-Connection.
It will also be signed during the Summit.
Prior to the ministerial meeting, Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque led the Bangladesh delegation to the 19th senior officials meeting on Tuesday, said the Foreign Ministry here.