The Cox's Bazar Civil Society and NGO Forum (CCNF), a network of local NGOs and CSOs, on Sunday demanded transparency and local government participation in the Rohingya response management. At a virtual press conference the CCNF leaders also demanded a parliamentary caucus on the issue. Read:Crimes against Rohingyas: ICC Prosecutor seeks joint efforts to deliver justice They urged a ban on use of plastic andcgroundwater and a limited use of bamboo as part of Rohingya management. Abu Morshed Chowdhury of PHALS and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST Foundation conducted the press conference. Hamidul Haque Chowdhury, Chairman of the Ukhiya Upazila Parishad spoke as the chief guest. Imam of Nowzowan demanded that in respect of joint need assessment local organizations should also be involved. Neelema Akter Chowdhury of Agrajatra said that, government contribution should be recognized in joint response management, as the government has already made $400 million investment in Bashanchar. Nazrul of BAPA (Bangladesh Poribesh Andolan) stated that there is a lot of plastic and other waste in the Rohingya camp, and NGOs should be creative in this regard to innovate alternatives. Surface water should be preserved and used, while groundwater extraction should be stopped now, he said. He also suggested treatment of Naf river's water for use. Agrajatra's Helal advised all concerned to buy dried fish and salt from local producers to distribute in the camps. Mukti Cox’s Bazar's Lutful Kabir Chowdhury repeated the Grand Bargain's call to channel 25% of funds through local and national NGOs. Abu Morshed Chowdhury of PHALS urged that the joint response plan should be a live document so that local organizations will have space to participate at any time, sectors should be reorganized so that local organizations will have leadership. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST demanded partnership policies from international actors aiming toward sustainable local civil society building in Cox’s Bazar, the partnership policy should be practiced in a transparent manner without conflict of interest. Local NGOs should be informed, of their weakness while they have not selected as a partner, he said. Read: Fortify Rights wins Anthem Award for Rohingya photography project Hamidul Haque Chowdhury, the Chairman of Ukhiya Upazila Parishad demanded that all humanitarian agencies must take the participation of local government leaders during project preparation to implementation. He expressed concern about the increasing number of termination of locals from the jobs by humanitarian agencies.
A network of 50 local and national NGOs has demanded effective participation of local government bodies, especially the Union Parishads of Cox's Bazar in dealing with the Rohingya refugees living in the district. The call came on Thursday at a virtual seminar organised by the Cox’s Bazar CSO NGO Forum on the occasion of World Humanitarian Day. Speakers at the seminar said that involvement of local organizations and people's representatives is essential in formulating programmes to help the Rohingyas. Also read: 1st phase of vaccination drive for Rohingyas ends in Cox's Bazar Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Co-Chair and Executive Director of COAST Foundation, and Abu Murshed Chowdhury, Co-Chair and Executive Director of PHALS moderated the seminar titled ‘World Humanitarian Day: Localization and Local Government.’ Local government expert Dr. Tofail Ahmed, Hnila Union Parishad Chairman Rashed Mahmud Ali, Palangkhali Union Parishad Panel Chairman Nurul Absar, Hnila Union Parishad Member Morzina Akter, Rajapalang Union Parishad Member Helal Uddin, Executive Director of YPSA Md. Arifur Rahman, Chief Executive Officer of Jago Nari Sangstha Sheuli Sharma also spoke at the meeting. The keynote presentation of the seminar was presented by Md.Mujibul Haque Munir of COAST Foundation. Mujibul mentioned that when the Rohingyas took shelter in Cox's Bazar, the local people's representatives, especially the local union council chairmen and members, stood by them along with the local people. Being closest to the people, they understand the needs of the people best. Therefore, the participation of local government and local people's representatives is essential in all areas of Rohingya crisis management. Also read: Rohingya children must be educated in their own language: FM Dr. Tofail said that Union Parishads can play a direct and strong role in any disaster or humanitarian crisis, but we still have some structural weaknesses in the Union Parishads. Some changes in the national policy framework are needed to overcome this weakness. With the help of policy, the local body can play an effective and sustainable role in any disaster. Hnila Union Parishad member Morzina Akhter said local representatives can play an active role in management of the refugees. Palangkhali Union Parishad panel chairman Nurul Absar said, a Joint Need Assessment to be conducted with the participation of local people's representatives before taking any action. Rashed Mahmud Ali, chairman of Hnila Union Parishad, said that, Rohingya management can only be appropriate and effective if everyone works together. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury said, effective localization of humanitarian and development assistance to Rohingya management must be ensured.