US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas has said that they are prepared to extend support to the declared goal of a “free, fair and peaceful” election in Bangladesh. He said USA’s goal is not to interfere in the election but to support the goal that allows people to freely choose who they want to run the country. “We speak out frequently in support of the goal,” said Ambassador Haas. Also read: UNHCR welcomes S Korea’s contribution of USD 1 million for Rohingyas in Bangladesh The US ambassador also said it is the collective responsibility of the entire world to make sure that conditions are in place in Myanmar so that the Rohingyas can return to their homeland with dignity. “They need to be protected, educated, and they need to enjoy dignity where they are living,” he said while attending an event as a keynote speaker. The US ambassador said the Rohingyas should not be punished for the action taken by Myanmar and they should be treated well without any discrimination towards them. Ambassador Haas laid emphasis on constant collective pressure on Myanmar, noting that the solution to the crisis unfortunately is not so easy. He said they are also exploring the option of resettlement, but it offers very limited opportunity as it is meant for only the most vulnerable people. Also read: Thailand provides assistance to support WFP’s food aid for Rohingyas in Bangladesh The ambassador also highlighted the importance of holding people responsible for the genocide. He appreciated Bangladesh’s generosity in providing shelter to the Rohingyas; otherwise, he thinks the situation would have been far worse. On the occasion of International Day of Peace, the US ambassador said: “The essence of International Peace Day is to remind us of the critical role of peace in addressing global challenges.” Chaired by Professor Atiqul Islam, NSU’s Vice-Chancellor, the session, held at NSU’s main auditorium, experienced the full-capacity of 1200 audience comprised of students, faculties and officials of NSU. Welcoming all, Javed Muneer Ahmad, Chairman, NSU Board of Trustees, said that peace is the most precious resource now in a conflict-ridden world. Dr. Abdul Wohab, Coordinator, Center for Peace Studies (CPS) made opening remarks, highlighting CPS’s role in promoting peace, sustainability, and diplomacy through research, dialogue, and community engagement. Also read: UK to push for long-term solution to Rohingya crisis
Assured Rohingyas that EU hasn’t forgotten them despite worldwide crises: Special Representative Gilmore tells UNB
European Union’s Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore has said they will talk to other countries about what more needs to be done to resolve the Rohingya crisis, and they are particularly conscious about the reductions in food rations that are being made this year. “It has to be resolved and it has to be resolved in Myanmar. The resolution of that crisis has to happen. And the circumstances need to be created whereby the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh can voluntarily go home safely, with their rights respected and in full dignity,” he told UNB in an exclusive interview. Gilmore, who recently spent five days in Bangladesh, said the food rations for the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s bazar have been cut from $12 to $10 (per person per month) and then $8 due to funding reductions by international donors. He spent a full day in Cox’s Bazar and met the Rohingyas who fled from Myanmar over the past six years, and heard their experiences and problems. Gilmore, who also visited Rohingya camps four years ago, assured them that the European Union has not forgotten them despite the current crises around the world. Japan will continue to support resolving Rohingya issues: Ambassador
The United States has said it is "maintaining pressure" on Myanmar’s military regime to end the Rohingya crisis and create conditions conducive for the eventual voluntary return of the refugees to their homeland in a manner that is safe, dignified, informed, and sustainable.US Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina this morning and discussed bilateral issues. They discussed the strong and growing partnership between the United States and Bangladesh, including coordination on issues from humanitarian assistance to gender equality. They spoke about efforts to advance a prosperous future built on strong democratic institutions, including free and fair elections; the vital role of civil society and independent media; promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of association and labor rights, according to the US Embassy in Dhaka. Also read: US visa policy to supplement govt commitment to hold free election: Uzra Zeya tells PM "Us appreciates Bangladesh’s generosity towards Rohingya refugees and looks forward to free and fair elections anchoring a thriving democratic future for the Bangladeshi people," Under Secretary Zeya tweeted after her meeting with Prime Minister Hasina. She also described the meeting as "engaging and productive". The Under Secretary and Prime Minister also discussed Bangladesh's generous hosting of Rohingya refugees and the continued need for support from the global community. The United States is proud to have provided more than $2.1 billion in humanitarian assistance to support Rohingya refugees and host communities in Bangladesh and the region since August 2017. The Under Secretary also shared that the United States is providing more than $74 million in additional humanitarian assistance to support the ongoing response efforts in Myanmar and Bangladesh, including nearly $61 million to support Rohingyas internally displaced in Myanmar, Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, and their host communities, including in Bangladesh, while urging continued support by other donors and potential donors. US Under Secretary Uzra Zeya, Donald Lu visit Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar
An 18-year-old Rohingya man was shot to death in a reported clash between the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO) at a camp in Ukhiya of Cox’s Bazar on Monday. The deceased Imam Hossain, son of Siraj Hossain of No 10 Rohingya camp in Ukhiya, however was not involved in the clash. Sheikh Mohammad Ali, officer-in-charge of Ukhiya Police Station, said the members of ARSA and RSO equipped with arms engaged in a gunfight at camp number 8 around 8am. The groups exchanged 20-25 rounds of bullets. Rohingya leader shot to death in Cox’s Bazar At one stage, Imam was caught in the line of fire and sustained bullet injuries. He was taken to a local hospital where the doctors declared him dead. Man killed in gunfight between ARSA, RSO groups in Ukhiya Rohingya camp, police say The body was sent to the Sadar Hospital morgue for autopsy, said OC.
Bangladesh should not bear the burden of more than 1 million Rohingya refugees alone while U.N. agencies are facing challenges to feed them, a United Nations official said Monday. Olivier De Schutter, a U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, made the statement at the end of a 12-day trip to Bangladesh, where he visited camps sheltering the refugees from Myanmar. He said the international response to meet the funds needed to support the refugees is "grossly insufficient." About $876 million is needed to support the community for a year, but only 17% of that has been pledged to date, he said, calling it "scandalous" at a news conference in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka. "Bangladesh should not be left to shoulder the burden of the presence of the refugees on its own. These (U.N.) agencies should be much better supported in their work," De Schutter said. He said the World Food Program was forced in May to reduce the value of the monthly food vouchers it gives to each refugee from $12 to $10. It will be reduced further to $8 on June 1, he said. "In a context in which food inflation this year was about 8%, that means that in the camps, children are undernourished," De Schutter said. "The rates of malnutrition will increase. The rates of stunting will increase. The development of the child in that context will be endangered." Bangladesh has sheltered more than 1 million refugees as the Muslim Rohingya face widespread discrimination in the Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where most are denied citizenship and other rights. More than 700,000 fled to Bangladesh starting in late August 2017, when the Myanmar military launched a "clearance operation" against them following attacks by a rebel group. The safety situation in Myanmar has worsened following the military takeover two years ago. Bangladesh is currently working with China to start repatriation of the Rohingya to Myanmar as a pilot case. The U.N. said earlier that they were aware of such a move but were not part of it. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said she would not force any refugees to move to Myanmar.
Foreign ministers at the 22nd Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting (CFAMM), held in London, have called upon Myanmar to comply with the "Provisional Measures’ by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). "The world must not forget that it was Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's extraordinary courage, compassion and humanitarian decision to open up border and heart to more than 750,000 Rohingyas in 2017 that saved the world from witnessing a human catastrophe," said State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam at the meeting. Highlighting the serious ramifications of the prolonged stay of 1.2 million Rohingyas for Bangladesh and the region, Shahriar said the earliest repatriation of all forcibly displaced Rohingyas back to their ancestral homeland in Rakhine in safety and dignity remains Bangladesh's compelling priority. He lauded the Gambia for pursuing the ICJ case on the question of Myanmar's accountability and commended Canada, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK for joining the Gambia's side, said the Bangladesh High Commission in London on Friday. Amid declining foreign attention and assistance, Canada called on the Commonwealth nations to continue their support for the cause of Rohingyas until they can return to their rightful homes in Myanmar. The Gambia appreciated the "outstanding generosity" of Hasina for continued hosting of Rohingyas and urged more Commonwealth countries to join their side in the ICJ case, highlighting the importance of accountability and repatriation issues for a sustainable solution to this protracted crisis. The UK stressed the sustainable return of Rohingyas while the Commonwealth nations expressed solidarity with Bangladesh.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Sunday urged the international community, including the UK to play a more decisive role in ensuring the voluntary, safe and sustainable repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingyas, temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh, to their homeland in Myanmar at an early date. Momen made the call as UK Minister of State for Indo-Pacific Anne-Marie Trevelyan met him at the foreign ministry. The foreign minister also briefed the UK minister about the facilities created in Bhasan Char for the Rohingyas.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday asked United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to take a special initiative to stop the Russia-Ukraine war soon. She made the call at a meeting with António Guterres at the bilateral meeting Room of Qatar National Convention Centre here in Doha. The premier said the world’s people are suffering due to the war, particularly economic sanctions as the disturbance in the international commodity supply raised inflation. “She has asked the UN Secretary-General to take a special initiative for stopping the war soon,” said Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen while briefing reporters after the meeting. Sheikh Hasina said it will be good for all if the war can be stopped as soon as possible. “Those who make much profit because of the war should help the affected countries,” she said. Sheikh Hasina said her government is providing some 10 million people with food at subsidized prices in Bangladesh. The PM praised the UN Secretary-General for his ‘Black Sea Grain Initiative’ (the Initiative on the Safe Transportation of Grain and Foodstuffs from Ukrainian ports) and his initiatives taken during the Covid-19 pandemic. Read: PM Sheikh Hasina arrives in Qatar to join UN conference on LDCs Regarding the Rohingya issue, both the PM and the UN Secretary-General agreed that the displaced Rohingya people should return to their homeland soon, not waiting for the political changeover in Myanmar. Noting that the time of political change in Myanmar is an uncertain matter, Sheikh Hasina asked António Guterres to take a special initiative for the repatriation of the Rohingya people. She also sought assistance from the United Nations and the international community to relocate more Rohingya people to Bhashan Char Island from camps in Cox’s Bazar. Housing for one lakh people was built in Bhasan Char with the own fund of Bangladesh and only 30,000 people have so far been moved there. The PM said Bangladesh prepared accommodation for Rohingyas with its own funds and still there is huge land in Bhashan Char to create housing for the displaced Myanmar nationals there. “If you help us, we can shift many more people to the place (Bhashan Char),” she was quoted. In this context, the UN Secretary-General said the Bangladesh PM can take an initiative in this regard. Turning to extremism, he said fanaticism is being carried out in the name of religion in different places. In this regard, the PM said those who are fanatics have no religion and no boundary. So, all should work together to fight fanaticism, she said. About the climate issue, she said focus should be given on the disbursement of the committed climate fund. During the meeting, António Guterres highly appreciated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her unprecedented successes in development, diplomacy and in tackling the Covid pandemic. It (the achievement) is very encouraging, he said He said the UN Secretary General said they are proud of a leadership like Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who very successfully tackled the Covid situation and advanced Bangladesh even facing the crisis due to the Ukraine war. Later, the Bangladesh premier sat in a separate meeting with President of the UNGA-Csaba Korosi at Qatar National Convention Center. In the meeting, Sheikh Hasina proposed to form an international forum with foreign development ministers of the South-South countries to find the problems and potentials and then cooperate among the southern countries in this regard as the developed nations do not help as per their commitments. In this regard, she sought cooperation of the UNGA in holding a daylong international conference on this issue. In response, the UNGA President opined that the initiative should be taken before July next as they would be engaged in the pre-activities of the next general assembly session from July-September. During the meeting, the UNGA President also highly lauded the economic progress of Bangladesh under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina saying it is a miracle and the economic progress of Bangladesh is very good even amid the tough time in the world. Other issues like water management and climate change came up for discussion. Foreign (Sr) Secretary Masud Bin Momen was present at the press briefing.
The government has placed two proposals seeking assistance from international community to relocate more Rohingya people to Bhashan Char island from camps in Cox’s Bazar for the wellbeing of the displaced Myanmar nationals. Under the proposals Dhaka wants foreign countries and agencies to bear the expenses of the Rohingya relocation and provide assistance to construct more infrastructures in Bhashan Char to make the remaining two-third areas of the island livable for the displaced people. PM’s Principal Secretary M Tofazzel Hossain Miah placed the proposals at a meeting with the foreign diplomats and representatives stationed in Dhaka, held at the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday. The representatives from 17 countries and agencies, including Australia, US, UK, France, Germany and UNHCR attended meeting. “We’ve told the international community that the more people we can bring to Bhashan Char in a very quick time, the more their safety and the betterment of their children will be ensured. So, now we’ve given them two proposals,” the principal secretary told the media after the meeting. About the first proposal, he said housing for one lakh people was built in Bhasan Char and only 30,000 people have so far been moved there. “Now we want to shift 70,000 more people to the place, which is an expensive matter. We ask the friendly countries who work with us to bear the cost of taking these people from Cox's Bazar to Bhashan Char. The Prime Minister seriously wants it,” he added. Talking about the second proposal, Tofazzel said only one-third of land of the Bhashan Char was used (for infrastructure to house one lakh Rohingya) and now the Prime Minister wants the infrastructures to be constructed in the remaining two-third land and more Rohingyas to be taken there. “So, Bangladesh has sought assistance (from foreign friends) to construct new infrastructures,” he said. In the meeting, the foreign countries and agencies were asked to put importance to the Rohingya issue in different international forums, he said. The principal secretary said Rohingya people will get better life and livelihood in Bhashan Char as they get skill development training and opportunities for agricultural works including raising chickens and ducks, and rearing cows and goats. Read more: PM to leave Dhaka for Doha on Mar 4 to attend LDC5 Conference He mentioned that the Rohingyas taken to Bhashan Char are brought to the mainland camps to meet their relatives in Cox's Bazar regularly. Turning to the sufferings of the Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar, he said several social problems, including internal conflict, infighting, arson violence, killing and trafficking are being created due to the stay of Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar. Many of them are involved in drug business, he added. Noting that the fund to conduct humanitarian activities for Rohingyas is not being received as per commitment of the donors, Tofazzel said Bangladesh received some US$ 586 million which is 62 percent of the committed amount of US$ 876 million in 2022. So, Bangladesh asked the friendly countries to provide the increased amount. He said the government spent some Tk 3,100 crore only to prepare Bhashan Char. Australian High Commissioner Jeremy Brewer, Canadian High Commissioner Lilly Nicholls, EU Ambassador Charles Whiteley, UK High Commissioner Robert Chatterton Dickson, US Ambassador Peter D. Haas, French Ambassador Marie Masdupuy, German Ambassador Achim Troster, Swedish Ambassador Alexandra Berg von Linde, UN Resident Coordinator Gwyn Lewis, UNHCR Representative Johannes van der Klaauw, WFP Resident Representative Dom Scalpelli, Chargés d'affaires of Switzerland embassy Suzanne Mueller, Deputy Head of Japanese Mission Machida Tatsuya, Deputy Chief of Netherlands Embassy Thijs Woudstra, Deputy Chief of Turkish Embassy Batuhan Gurhan, Head of Cooperation for Rohingya Refugees and Host Communities Program of Canadian High Commission Vivek Prakash and Regional Refugee Coordinator of the US Embassy Mackenzie Rowe attended the meeting. High officials from different ministries concerned including the senior secretaries of the Foreign Ministry and the Public Security Division, and the secretaries of Relief and Disaster Management Ministry and the PMO, were present in the meeting.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Tom Andrews on Thursday made an urgent appeal to member mtates to reverse “the shameful, catastrophic cuts” to food rations for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh that began to be implemented on Wednesday. “These rations cuts are a stain on the conscience of the international community,” said Andrews. “I have spoken with desperate families in the camps who have already had to cut back on essential food items due to a spike in prices. Reversing these cuts in food aid is literally a matter of life and death for Rohingya families,” the Special Rapporteur said. He said many UN member states have offered rhetorical support for the Rohinyga but Rohingya families cannot eat political rhetoric. "It is past time for UN member states to replace empty declarations of support with life saving action,” Andrews said. “Unless they are quickly reversed, the impact of these cuts will be catastrophic and long-lasting,” he said. According to the expert, malnutrition and adverse health outcomes could spike in the community and the development of Rohingya children could be severely impaired. Read more: India can be a mediator in resolving the Ukraine war: Momen tells Indian media The consequences of these cuts are likely to be carried by the Rohingya people for generations. The UN expert issued the plea in a letter to UN member states to what could be a series of cuts in food rations for Rohingya refugees in Bangaldesh by the World Food Programme (WFP). The cuts could exceed 30 percent of current allocations to Rohingya refugees. “These cuts will be devastating for a traumatised population that is already suffering from widespread malnutrition,” Andrews said. “The impact of the already inadequate level of food support for Rohingya refugees is unconscionable: 40 percent of Rohingya children are currently suffering from stunted growth; 51 percent of Rohingya children and 41 percent of pregnant and breastfeeding Rohingya women are anemic; 45 percent of all Rohingya families in the camps are living with insufficient diets.” Andrews said the food ration cuts will impact nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar who fled genocidal attacks by the Myanmar military. “Tragically, the WFP has announced that cuts to the already insufficient food rations will be only the first round of ration reductions if additional funding is not forthcoming. The value of the monthly food ration allocation for each Rohingya refugee in the Bangladesh camps has been reduced by 17 percent,” the Special Rapporteur said. “Without additional support, these cuts will be even deeper over the next two months, with food rations reduced by a third. That would mean that, on average, Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh camps would need to try and survive on $0.27 USD per day,” the Special Rapporteur said. “The consequences of these additional cuts will be catastrophic for a population that has already been forced to endure immense suffering,” he said. The World Food Programme reportedly needs $125 million USD immediately to halt the ration cuts. Andrews noted that the food crisis was merely “the tip of the iceberg,” as the overall Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis Joint Response Plan (JRP) has been sorely underfunded for a number of years, and remains at risk of significant underfunding in 2023. The 2023 JRP will likely be published next week. Andrews told member states that he will be closely monitoring all contributions by governments to food and nutrition for the Rohingya refugees and how these amounts compare to previous years’ contributions. He announced that he will provide regular updates to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.