Bangladesh, Myanmar and China will hold a virtual tripartite meeting on Tuesday to discuss ways to expedite the Rohingya repatriation process.
Rohingya repatriation talks between Dhaka and Naypyitaw remained halted for nearly a year due to COVID-19 pandemic and general elections in Myanmar.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen will lead the Bangladesh delegation in the meeting scheduled to begin at 2pm (local time). Vice Minister of China Luo Zhaohui will join from Beijing with Bangladesh and Myanmar delegations, a senior official told UNB.
The international community finds the repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar as the only solution to the crisis. Bangladesh wants to begin repatriation as soon as possible.
Bangladesh and China will share their ideas with Myanmar in the meeting to expedite the repatriation process.
Also read: 2020: Another year of agony for Rohingyas
Rohingya repatriation: Myanmar lacks seriousness
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen had said Bangladesh that Dhaka handed over a list of 840,000 Rohingyas to Myanmar for verification.
"Myanmar has verified very few people. They're very slow. They’ve verified only 42,000 people. There’s a serious lack of seriousness," he said.
Dr Momen said they are doing their part but Myanmar is not.
He said he is always hopeful of beginning repatriation as history shows Myanmar taking back their nationals in 1978 and 1992.
Myanmar does not recognise the Rohingyas as its citizens despite having lived in the country for generations and state-sponsored discriminations against them stretches back decades.
Many Rohingyas are deprived of basic rights and are forced to live in squalid camps in apartheid-like situation.
In late August 2017, the Myanmar military launched a brutal offensive targeting the mainly-Muslim ethnic minority in the pretext of “clearance operations”.
But Fortify Rights, in a report in July 2018, said the Myanmar authorities made “extensive and systematic preparations” for attacks against Rohingya civilians during the weeks and months before militants attacked police on August 25, 2017.
They “targeted, killed, and raped” Rohingyas and burned their villages, as the United Nations, Refugees International, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the US State Department itself, and many others have documented.
Over 800,000 Rohingyas fled the “genocidal violence” and Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas.
Rohingya crisis: Bangladesh looking for a solution
Bangladesh is trying in multiple ways - bilaterally, multilaterally, tri-laterally and through the judicial system – to find a lasting solution to the Rohingya crisis.
Bangladesh says Rohingyas will "jeopardise regional and international security" if they are left unattended and not given the opportunity to return to their homeland.
Repatriation attempts failed twice in November 2018 and August 2019 amid Rohingyas' "lack of trust" in the Myanmar government.
Bangladesh and Myanmar signed the repatriation deal on November 23, 2017.
On January 16, 2018, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a document on “Physical Arrangement”, which was supposed to facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland.
Japan has extended a grant of US$68,633 (approximately Tk 5.49 million) to Dhaka Community Hospital Trust (DCHT).
Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki signed the grant contracts for Grass-roots Human Security Projects (GGHSP) at the Embassy of Japan with Omar Sharif Ibne Hasan, Director of Central Coordination Committee of DCHT on Monday.
DCHT has been awarded the grant for “The Project for Provision of Medical Equipment to Support Neonatal and Child Healthcare in Dhaka District”.
DCHT has been providing primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare services with participation of the community, as well as developing skilled human resources in the health delivery services sector.
With the assistance of the GGHSP funding, DCHT will procure and install medical equipment to provide neonatal and child healthcare services in Dhaka Community Hospital.
Newborn and pediatric patients with respiratory diseases will receive specialised medical support through this project.
Japan has supported 197 NGO projects through its Grant Assistance for GGHSP since 1989 with the view to enhance economic and social human security in the grass-roots levels.
The total sum of these GGHSP grants extended to NGOs in Bangladesh to date amounts approximately to $15 million.
Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram K Doraiswami on Saturday reiterated that Bangladesh will receive its supply of the Coronavirus vaccine from an Indian manufacturer “quickly and urgently” as per previous assurances.
“....Bangladesh is our priority, that assurance you have already. The exact schedule, we’ll communicate with your government first. That’s being done,” he told reporters after attending a function in the city.
He said the government [of Bangladesh] has to have the arrangement first. "As soon as the government indicates that everything is ready, we will work accordingly."
Reiterating the highest priority India attaches to Bangladesh under India’s Neighbourhood First Policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a Summit meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on December 17 last year, assured that vaccines would be made available to Bangladesh as and when produced in India.
On Saturday India launched its own vaccination programme, which aims to vaccinate more than 1.3 billion people against Covid-19, reports BBC.
India has recorded the second-highest number of Covid-19 infections in the world after the United States.
Millions of doses of two approved vaccines - Covishield and Covaxin - were shipped across the country in the days leading up to the start of the drive.
"We are launching the world's biggest vaccination drive and it shows the world our capability," Modi, said, addressing the country on Saturday morning.
The Indian High Commissioner said their Prime Minister assured that neighbors will get the vaccine first and in that list Bangladesh is a priority country.
“Bangladesh will get it urgently as we rolled out the vaccination programme,” he said, mentioning that the process is underway.
The envoy said as soon as the government indicates everything is ready, they will work accordingly.
The High Commissioner said vaccination is everybody’s right and they will make sure their partners get it quickly.
Bangladesh has a deal with Serum Institute, India (SII) SII through local pharma giant Beximco Pharmaceuticals for 30 million doses of the said vaccine.
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R. Miller on Saturday visited the ongoing two-month long group art exhibition titled “Sheikh Hasina: On the Right Side of History” and appreciated the artists for taking forward the history of this “extraordinary country”.
“I think the timing is perfect,” said Ambassador Miller, mentioning the birth centenary celebrations of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of Bangladesh's independence.
Deputy Managing Director of Cosmos Group Masud Jamil Khan, former diplomats, including Tariq Ahmad Karim, who is currently Director of the Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies at the Independent University and Honorary Advisor Emeritus of Cosmos Foundation, WildTeam CEO Dr. Md. Anwarul Islam and Associated Press (AP), Dhaka Bureau Chief Julhas Alam were present.
Welcoming the US Ambassador, Masud Khan said, “The USA is our true and tested friend ...we see our relationship with the USA from a long-term and strategic view.”
Masud Khan briefed the Ambassador about the art exhibition and said each and every art piece here is unique and special in its own way.
“Art may not be essential to our day-to-day survival but it’ll be in the long run to the survival of society and culture,” Masud Khan said, adding that the exhibition is part of the year-long programme to celebrate the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud formally inaugurated the group art exhibition on December 15, 2020.
Gallery Cosmos in collaboration with the Cosmos Atelier71 recently hosted an art camp supported by the Cosmos Foundation on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu.
Artists Alakesh Ghosh, Ahmed Shamshuddoha, Sheikh Afzal, Nasir Ali Mamun, Bishwajit Goswami, Ratneshwar Shutradhar, Rasel Kanti, Monjur Rashid, Sourav Chowdhury, Maneek Bonik, Jayanta Sarkar, Azmol Hossain, Fida Hossain, Amit Nandi, Didarul Limon, Tamanna Afroz, Fahim Chowdhury, Miskatul Abir, Proshun Halder, Hasura Akter Rumky and Surovi Akter had participated in the camp.
The artworks produced at the camp are being showcased at the exhibition. The exhibition will remain open till February 12, 2021 at Cosmos Centre and can only receive 20 visitors at any one time.
The US Ambassador, accompanied by his son Andrew Miller, visited different wings of the Cosmos Group at Cosmos Centre, including UNB newsroom and the offices of WildTeam and AP. He thanked the Cosmos Group for the invitation and hospitality.
Earlier, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram K Doraiswami, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson and Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh Mustafa Osman Turan visited the art exhibition.
Visitors have been advised to wear masks all the time while visiting the exhibition and maintain appropriate distance from each other.
Bangladesh has urged Uzbekistan to sign an agreement in the field of tourism, to finalise agreement on avoiding double taxation for traders, and setting up an Embassy in Dhaka.
The two countries also discussed holding their first Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) meeting in the first quarter of current year, signing agreement for visa waiver for diplomatic and official passports, resuming direct flight on Tashkent-Dhaka-Tashkent route and towards Europe, and holding the third meeting of Joint Working Commission in Dhaka.
Uzbekistan Ambassador to India with concurrent accreditation to Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka Dilshod Akhatov (Deputy Foreign Minister) paid a visit to Bangladesh Embassy in Tashkent and had a meeting with Bangladesh Ambassador Md Zahangir Alam on Friday.
During the meeting Bangladesh Ambassador called upon his Uzbek counterpart to assist Bangladesh Embassy’s initiative on the issues mentioned above.
Akhatov assured Bangladesh Ambassador of taking up the matter with his Government to expedite the process of these bilateral issues between Bangladesh and Uzbekistan.
DCM and Minister of Bangladesh Embassy Nripendra Chandra Debnath and First Secretary of Uzbekistan Embassy in New Delhi Azamjon Mansurov were present during the meeting.
At the end of the meeting Dilshod Akhatov visited the Bangabandhu Corner at the embassy and signed the visitors' book there.