ActionAid Bangladesh in association with Centre for Genocide Studies, Dhaka University and Centre for Peace and Justice, BRAC University organised a 2-day e-conference (August 25-26) titled "Connecting Rohingya Diaspora: Highlighting the Global Displacement" in order to mark the 3rd anniversary of the massive Rohingya influx into 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.
Masud Bin Momen, Foreign Secretary joined the e-conference as the chief guest. Cherno Marenah, Solicitor General and Legal Secretary of Ministry of Justice, Republic of The Gambia, joined the e-conference as the guest of honour.
Masud Bin Momen said, "The Rohingyas from Myanmar have been subjected to abuse since 1948. At present, the Rohingyas are acknowledged as the most persecuted community in the world. There is approximately 2.5 million Rohingyas scattered around the world, more than half of who reside in Bangladesh. The Bangladeshi government has successfully accommodated the massive influx of Rohingya Refugees and have also provided sufficient shelter to the Refugees."
He expressed concerns over the possibility of conflict if the situation prolongs. Despite Bangladesh's willingness to achieve peaceful repatriation of the Rohingya Refugees, Myanmar's disinterest is proving to be a major obstacle, said the Foreign Secretary. He urged the international community to put pressure on Myanmar to achieve peaceful repatriation of the Rohingya Refugees.
Cherno Marenah said, "In October, Gambia will submit the first memorandum in the case at the International Court of Justice. We are working extremely hard along with international lawyers". He added that Gambia always takes the lead when it comes to humanitarian crises, and are especially active in the African continent.
The welcome speech was given by Manzoor Hasan, Executive Director, Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ), BRAC University. He said, "We will release the Dhaka Declaration after the culmination of the two-day conference". Emphasizing on a peaceful solution to the Rohingya crisis, he said, "This will be the second Dhaka Declaration. The first one was released in 2018".
While talking about the overall perspective of the conference, Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, Professor, International Relations, Dhaka University and Director, Centre for Genocide Studies (CGS), said, "The Rohingya issue is not only a bilateral issue between Bangladesh and Myanmar anymore, it has become an international issue. There has been a systematic genocide going on in Myanmar for decades. Even though previously the genocide had not gotten proper coverage, the 2017 events have brought it into the limelight".
Thanking The Gambia for presenting the Rohingya genocide at the International Court of Justice, Imtiaz Ahmed said, "This conference has three objectives- Presenting the miserable scenario of the Rohingya community to the international community, listening to the experiences of the Rohingya diaspora scattered around the world, and connecting the Rohingyas living both in and out of Myanmar".
Dr Imtiaz urged the International community to unite in order to achieve the peaceful repatriation of the Rohingya Refugees and reformation of the constitution of Myanmar to ensure the rights of the Rohingya Refugees as Myanmar citizens.
After thanking all the present participants in the conference, the Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh, Farah Kabir said, "We don't want the plight of the Rohingyas to prolong. We all know that there was a massive influx of Rohingya Refugees into Bangladesh in 2017. The Rohingya diaspora themselves can play a crucial role in bringing about a change". This situation can be resolved by uniting the Rohingya diaspora around the world.