Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Push for UN meet to solve Rohingya issue

Source: The Daily Independent (Bangladesh)June 02, 2010
Published: 02 June 2010

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been urged to convene a meeting of the Security Council to resolve the Rohingya refugee issue permanently.

The suggestion came at a discussion on 'Rohingya problems: Ways to Resolve it' organized by the Centre for Education and Advocacy at the national press club yesterday.

Participants alleged that some non-government organisations (NGOs) and donor agencies don't want to resolve the Rohingya issue permanently for mysterious reasons. Had they been sincere this problem would have been solved long ago, they observed.

Taking part in the discussion, food and disaster management minister Dr MA Razzque said the Rohingya problem had now turned into an international issue.

"The government has been holding bilateral discussions with the Myanmar government to resolve the problem. If bilateral discussions yield no result, the issue will be placed before the international community," he said.

He called for quick and permanent settlement of the decades-old Rohingya problem which is putting extra burden on Bangladesh's limited resources and causing various social problems. Despite being a poor country, Bangladesh gave shelter to Rohingya refugees from Myanmar on humanitarian ground, he said adding, "a section of foreign media is publishing wrong information on this issue".

He expressed his concern that unregistered Rohingyas were moving to different areas of the country. When the initiative for their registration was taken, a huge number of Rohingyas started entering the country, he added.

The minister said the UNHCR should take initiative immediately for a permanent settlement of this issue.

Chief information commissioner Md Zamir suggested that the UNHCR could set up camps near the border within Myanmar for giving shelter to the Rohingya refugees.A discussion between the development partners and the Muslim countries can be arranged on the Rohingya issue to persuade the UN to put pressure on Myanmar for its permanent settlement immediately, he noted.

About 28,000 registered refugees living in two camps and nearly 400,000 unregistered of them living outside the camps have been putting a heavy burden on Bangladesh's economy besides creating many social, environmental and law and order problems, speakers said.

The continuous flow of the refugees from Myanmar has been causing massive damage to the country's scarce land, forests and other resources. Their illegal activities have led to the deterioration of law and order situation in Cox's Bazar, according to them.Among others, CPB leader Ruhin Hossain Prince, journalists Farid Hossain, Jaglul Ahmed Chowdhury, representatives from the Muslim Aid and UNHCR also took part in the discussion.

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