Desk Report: Experts at an international conference has called upon the United Nations (UN) and other members of the international community to use diplomatic channels to provide sufficient humanitarian assistance and other support to ensure the protection and rights of Rohingya women, children and other vulnerable groups.
On the last session of the two-day conference titled ‘Rohingya Refugee Crisis: Towards Sustainable Solutions’ organised by Centre for Genocide Studies, Dhaka University (DU), BRAC University and ActionAid at DU, representatives of several countries, including Bangladesh, came up with the ‘Dhaka Declaration’ as an outline measures for finding sustainable solutions, co-signed by the participants. The conference ended on Tuesday.
"We call upon the international community to ensure their voluntary, dignified, informed and protected return," the declaration reads.
Recalling the promise of the Global Summit 2005, the declaration urged to take timely and decisive action in accordance with the UN Charter in situations of mass killings and mass eviction.
They called upon the international community to comprehensively investigate the ongoing acts of genocide, mass atrocities, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing in Myanmar and demanded the prosecution and punishment of those offenders responsible for such violations, and protect the Rohingya from further harm.
The experts emphasised the responsibility of Myanmar in restoring and protecting citizenship rights and human dignity for all, including enacting legislations upholding the socio-cultural, political and economic rights of the Rohingya population.
The declaration stressed the importance of and the need for strengthening cooperation at various levels -- community, civil society regional, national and international – in order to prevent the continuing mass violence against the Rohingya population.
The participants at the conference extended solidarity and support to the government of Bangladesh in their efforts to provide for and protect the persecuted Rohingya community.
Recognising the contribution of the Bangladesh community and highlighting the socio-cultural, economic and ecological impact of the Rohingya refugee crisis on them, their lives and livelihoods, they called upon Myanmar and the international community to address the issues of loss and damage.
They demanded that members of the international community incorporate and implement access to justice, gender equity and equality, child protection, principles of good governance, transparency and accountability when formulating future sustainable solutions.
The speakers from home and abroad emphasised the need to constructively build on the strengths of the Rohingya population, particularly women, and engage them as leaders in the design of any future sustainable development solutions in line with the SDGs.
They supported the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar’s recommendation “to establish a documentation structure to collect, map and preserve evidence of human rights violations and abuses, and testimony from refugees in Cox’s Bazar,” and call upon the UNGA to implement the recommendation.
The Dhaka Declaration says perpetrators of genocide/ethnic cleansing/crimes against humanity must be held accountable. Those directly responsible and those who are complicit must face justice individually and collectively.
Those who have taken the responsibility to support and protect the persecuted women, men and children, for mitigating the harm or trying their best to make it right, should be recognised for their role and for the example they set for others.
Prime Minister's Foreign Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi in his speech on the declaration said the Rohingya crisis is a deep and preplanned as well as well organised by Myanmar.
As Bangladesh is not responsible for the crisis, the country alone cannot solve it. The solution has to come from Myanmar, he said.
Mentioning Myanmar unsafe for Rohingyas, he said, international pressure need to be ensured to return the Rohingyas back to their country.
Professor Imtiaz Ahmed, Director of Centre for Genocide Studies at Dhaka University, said the genocide against Rohingya cannot be denied in any way.
In her closing remark, Farah Kabir, country director of ActionAid Bangladesh, urged the international community and world leaders to come forward and stand up for the issue.
Manzoor Alam, Executive Director of the Centre for Peace and Justice at BRAC University, Chair of ActionAid Bangladesh,said, the Dhaka Declaration is a living document which needs more reviewing and implication.
When the Dhaka Declaration was presented in the conference, experts from host Bangladesh and India, Thailand, the USA, the UK, Sweden and Singapore expressed their solidarity with it.
risingbd/Dhaka/April 03, 2018/A K Azad