Dhaka, Sept 9 (UNB) - United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng has urged ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to consider the recommendation of its Chamber to decide on the opening of an investigation into the atrocities against Rohingyas without delay.
He said the decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) provides victims an opportunity to access justice for some of the crimes they have endured, which is an important first step.
Myanmar has refused to cooperate with any impartial investigation into the matter and continues to insist hiding behind its sovereign borders, he said in a statement.
"It is about time that countries understand that borders are not strong enough to protect those involved in the most horrible crimes committed against human beings from prosecution," reads the statement a copy of which UNB obtained.
He welcomed the decision issued on Thursday by the International Criminal Court (ICC), Pre-Trial Chamber I, in which it concluded that the Court has jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh.
Adama Dieng said deportation can constitute a crime against humanity under international law.
The Chamber also ruled that the Court would have jurisdiction over other crimes committed, such as the crime of persecution, if at least one element of the crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court - or part of such a crime - has been committed on the territory of a State Party to the Statute.
“This decision is a light in what has been a very dark episode for the Rohingya people this past year,” said the Special Adviser.
The decision followed a request by the Prosecutor of the ICC on 9 April 2018, in which she sought a ruling from the Pre-Trial Chamber on the jurisdiction of the Court in a situation in which persons are deported from the territory of a State which is not party to the Rome Statute of the ICC into the territory of a State which is a party to the Statute.
While Myanmar is not a party to the Statute, Bangladesh is.
Accordingly, the decision opens the door to the prosecution of some of the crimes that may have been committed against the Rohingya.
“The crimes allegedly committed or initiated in Myanmar against the Rohingya population, particularly since August 2017, which led to the mass displacement of almost a million Rohingya people into Bangladesh, are horrific and must not go unpunished,” insisted the Special Adviser.
“We have all heard the shocking reports of mass killings, the gang rape of women, of babies being thrown into fires, and the complete destruction of villages. The failure of the Security Council to refer the situation to the ICC for investigation, despite credible information to support these allegations and numerous calls for accountability, has been frustrating, to say the least”.
The Special Adviser also noted that while the decision is a breakthrough, alleged crimes perpetrated solely on the territory of Myanmar, including conduct that could possibly amount to the crime of genocide, will be excluded from the jurisdiction of the ICC.
For that reason, the Special Adviser urged the international community to continue its efforts to bring justice to the Rohingya people.
Barishal, Sept 8 (UNB) – Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said Bangladesh and India share the historical legacy of fighting and winning the Liberation War together in 1971 wherein armies from both the nations fought and defeated a common enemy.
“We recognise and honour the contributions and sacrifices of the Muktijoddhas (freedom fighters),” he said while addressing Muktijoddha Scholarship cheque distribution ceremony at Sher-e-Bangla Medical College here.
The High Commissioner said freedom fighters have been their lasting friends and they appreciate the role freedom fighters play in keeping the Liberation War spirit alive.
“These are eternal bonds, permanently cemented by the blood and sacrifices of our martyrs. I pay my tributes to the martyrs of both countries who have laid down their lives during the independence struggle,” Shringla said.
He said the recipients of the scholarship scheme are the future of Bangladesh. “You should be very proud to have been born in the family of Muktijoddhas and have inherited their legacy.”
He said it is a unique honour but carries with itself the onus of carrying forward their legacy and spirit into the future. “I’m also sure you all will evolve to be the goodwill ambassadors between the future generations of both the countries.”
Mayor-elect, Barishal City Corporation Serniabat Sadiq Abdullah, Sector Commander (Sector 9 during Liberation War) Captain Mahfuz Alam Beg, Chairman, Muktijoddha Academy Trust Dr Abul Azad, Members of Parliament, senior freedom fighters were present.
The High Commissioner said Bangladesh and India share a common heritage, cultural linkage and have shed blood together on the battlefield.
The Muktijoddha scholarship scheme is one such initiative launched in 2006. Under the scheme, over 12,621 students have already been awarded scholarship and an amount of Tk 21 crore has been utilised.
The Nutan Muktijoddha scholarship scheme was introduced in 2017. Under the scheme, 10,000 students will be awarded scholarships in Undergraduate and Higher Secondary streams over the next five years and an amount of Tk 35 crore will be utilised for the purpose. Once the old and new schemes are combined, a total of Tk 56 crore will be spent by the government of India for the Muktijoddha scholarship programme.
Some 120 students of Barishal division were handed over scholarship cheques. Students in undergraduate category were awarded a lump sum amount of Tk 50,000 and in the Higher Secondary category Tk 20,000 respectively.
Dhaka, Sept 8 (UNB) – Bangladesh has urged Nigerian investors to invest in Bangladesh availing of the numerous incentives to invest in the country.
High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Nigeria Md Shameem Ahsan met Nigerian Minister for State of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment Aisha Abubakar at her office on Friday and discussed the issue.
He said there are huge demands of the RMG, pharmaceuticals, ceramics, jute products and handicrafts in the Nigerian market and Nigerian businessmen could gain by importing from Bangladesh as the price is competitive and of international standard.
Both the High Commissioner and the Nigerian Minister stressed on launching a “Bangladesh-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce” which can act as a platform to facilitate stronger commercial relations in this regard, said the Foreign Ministry here on Saturday.
During the meeting, both sides expressed their keen interest to strengthen existing cordial bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Nigeria.
Both of them agreed that there are huge potentials of expanding trade and commercial relations, in particular, between the two friendly countries.
Dhaka, Sept 8 (UNB) – Bangladesh and Estonia will hold a bilateral meeting on Sunday to find ways to explore areas of cooperation between the two countries.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and his Estonian counterpart Sven Mikser will lead their respective sides at the meeting. The meeting will begin at 12 noon at state guesthouse Padma in the city.
Minister Mikser is scheduled to arrive here on Saturday night on a two-day visit at the invitation of Bangladesh Foreign Minister, said a foreign ministry official.
He is likely to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during his stay in Dhaka.
Estonia is the most northerly of the three Baltic states and has linguistic ties with Finland and has become one of the most economically successful of the European Union's newer eastern European members.
Dhaka, Sept 8 (UNB) – The United Nations has said a substantial progress remains urgently needed in three key areas including addressing the root causes of the Rohingya crisis and a clear pathway to citizenship for Rohingyas who are eligible.
Two other areas covered by the Memorandum of Understanding are granting effective access in Rakhine State and ensuring freedom of movement for all communities.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) say they stand ready to commence assessment activities in 23 villages following the signing of MoU by the two agencies and the government of Myanmar three months ago.
“These assessments would be a first step only, with the expectations that access will be expanded to allow for the large scale comprehensive assessments that continue to be needed,” Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, told reporters in a regular briefing at the UN headquarters.
The assessment in the initial list of villages is part of a broader work plan that has been under discussion with the authorities in Myanmar since July, he said.
By commencing with needs assessments to identify and implement quick-impact projects, UNHCR and UNDP hope to jump start confidence building measures aimed at rebuilding trust and social cohesions with those communities that remain in Rakhine State, said Dujarric.
Responding to a question, the Spokesman said the first steps is creation of confidence-building measures for the Rohingya populations that remain in Rakhine State, to ensure full access to the relevant UN agencies.
“At the end of the day, it’ll be those Rohingya refugees that will have to make the determination, free from pressure, to go back, voluntarily, in dignity,” he said.
The UN Spokesman also said he is not saying there is no resolution in the near future. “We're working towards a resolution.”
On Thursday, the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) came up with a ruling that it has jurisdiction over Myanmar’s deportation of the Rohingya population to Bangladesh, a crime against humanity.
Amnesty International has said the ICC decision is a significant step in the right direction which opens up a clear avenue of justice for the Rohingya who were driven out of their homes, often as soldiers opened fire on them and burned down their villages.
However, Myanmar on Friday rejected the ruling by the International Criminal Court that empowered the tribunal to probe alleged crimes against the Rohingya though Myanmar is not a member of it.