Experts from home and abroad have sought an unequivocal commitment from the world community to resolve the Rohingya refugee crisis in a sustainable manner and with a regional approach, recognising the fact that Bangladesh is currently hosting over 1.2 million Rohingyas within its borders.
They called upon the United Nations and all members of the international community to use diplomatic channels to provide enough humanitarian assistance and other support to ensure protection and rights of all the Rohingya people and other vulnerable groups.
The Centre for Genocide Studies, University of Dhaka issued a Dhaka Declaration 2020 on Wednesday night at the end of a two-day international E-Conference on 'Connecting the Rohingya Diaspora: Highlighting the Global Displacement'.
It recognised that the Rohingya people have the right to return to their homeland. "We call upon the international community to ensure their voluntary, dignified, informed and safe return to their original homes."
The Dhaka Declaration also recognised the four provisional measures on the Myanmar government as per the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (The Gambia v. Myanmar) case in January 2020 which include the government of Myanmar to prevent genocidal acts and crimes, ensure that the military and other security forces do not commit genocide, preserve the evidence of genocidal acts and crimes, report back on its compliance within four months, and then every six months afterwards.
It denounced all sorts of latent and manifest acts of genocide against the Rohingya ethnic minority of Myanmar which forced them to leave their country and take refuge in countries of four continents of the world.
It condemned persecution by the state authority in Myanmar that regularly leads to the forced trafficking of a sizeable Rohingya population, as well as the exploitation and extortion associated with it; recognising how these atrocities make millions of Rohingya women, men and children stateless in other countries.
The discussants recognised the risks that the Rohingya people regularly take to avoid persecution in Myanmar and the precarious journey by boat they embark on to take refuge in neighboring countries.
They condemned the apathy of the government of Myanmar, regional governments and the international community towards the Rohingya people, particularly the sufferings of Rohingya women and children in open seas.
The experts urged the government of Myanmar to take responsibility for the incidents and organise a transparent and accountable investigation of Rohingya displacement, while providing all the host countries as well as the Rohingya people proper monetary and legal compensation.
They urged the allies of Myanmar, particularly ASEAN, to take necessary steps to compel Myanmar to terminate the persecution of the Rohingya people once and for all.
The Dhaka Declaration called on governments, civil society, and multilateral agencies to create a multi-pronged participatory mechanism to address and bring resolution to the plight of the Rohingya by putting pressure on the government of Myanmar.
It called upon the Rohingya diaspora to mobilise tangible and intangible resources to support the struggle of the Rohingya, especially after the recognition from ICJ.
In order to be able to play a significant role, the Rohingya diaspora need to develop a strong network creating a virtual diaspora space for raising a strong voice in the international fora demanding their due rights from Myanmar.
In this context, the women Rohingya diaspora can be a game-changer in creating a gender sensitive Rohingya society and add to the voice of the humiliated and violated.
The conference called for advancjng a broader advocacy role by ensuring transparency, justice and accountability for safe, voluntary, informed and dignified repatriation of the Rohingya people scattered around the world, including Bangladesh, and foster support from the engaging countries on behalf of the ICJ ruling.
It called for continuing the initiative that signifies the great partnership between the Rohingya diaspora and agencies working around the world for mitigating the plight of the Rohingya people.
The event was organised by the Centre for Genocide Studies, University of Dhaka; the Centre for Peace and Justice, BRAC University; and ActionAid Bangladesh.
The E-Conference was attended by experts, researchers, academician, human rights activists and humanitarian workers working on the Rohingya diaspora from 12 countries, including Bangladesh and Myanmar like Prof Imtiaz Ahmed and Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh Farah Kabir.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen joined the E-Conference as the chief guest.
Cherno Marenah, The Solicitor General and Legal Secretary, the Ministry of Justice, Government of The Gambia, joined the E-Conference as the guest of honor.
The conference recalled the promise of the Global Summit 2005, to take “timely and decisive action in accordance with the UN Charter” in situations of mass killings and mass eviction and the Global Compact for Refugees call for sustainable solutions to refugee situations through international cooperation.
The participants unequivocally stated that since humanity was founded, it has been on the move.
Over time people have moved in search of new economic opportunities and horizons, while others moved to escape armed conflict, poverty, food insecurity, persecution, terrorism, or genocide, human rights violations and abuses, they said.
These causes of forced displacement need to be addressed instead of considering the people that migrate involuntarily and become a diaspora as a problem, according to the Dhaka Declaration.
The experts said they are aware that forced displacement and forced migration from multiple countries often present complex challenges to the international community, with the victims suffering the most and becoming members of the diaspora involuntarily.
Discrimination and unequal gender and power relations particularly hurt women and girls during forced displacement and forced migration, eroding women's rights and exposing them to sexual and gender violence, the conference observed.
The participants reaffirmed the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
"We also reaffirm the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recall the core international human rights treaties," the Dhaka Declaration reads.
They reaffirmed and resolved that full protection of human rights standards be accorded to all refugees and diaspora communities, regardless of status; all of them are rights holders.
They resolutely restate the determination to prevent the plight of forcibly displaced populations facing widespread torture, atrocities, abuse of human rights and acts of genocide and mass violence in their respective home countries and call for the restoration, protecting, promotion and respect of human rights for all.
They are aware that modern technology allows the diaspora to play a significant role in telling their own stories, including the gruesome experiences they have suffered in their respective home countries.
It also allows them to articulate and demand what justice and human rights mean to them.
"We recognise that people forced to migrate have their own political, economic, social, developmental, humanitarian and human rights. These rights transcend borders and act as a transnational link between peoples' homeland and their host countries.