Bangkok and Dhaka, 12th December 2023.
Yesterday, a session jointly organized by COAST Foundation, Coxs Bazar CSO NGO Forum (CCNF),NGO Platform Cox’s Bazar (NGOP) and Rohingya Human Rights Network in a session during the Regional Humanitarian Partnership Week (RHPW) 2023, entitled, “Strengthening Regional Responses to the Rohingya Situation” in Bangkok, Thailand. Around 70 participants from different countries of Asia Pacific Region and from different organizations participated in the discussions.
Md. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, the Executive Director of COAST Foundation moderated the session.
The key note and survey findings presented by Md. Iqbal Uddin, Joint Director-MEAL and Social Research, COAST Foundation. Experts from the Rohingya communities and regional networks, as well as the United Nations, shed lights on how to address the Rohingya situation in a sustainable, inclusive and effective manner.
Specifically on the panel, Dr. Ambia Perveen from European Rohingya Council, Ms. Sharifah Shakirah from Rohingya Women Development Network, Mr. John Quinley from Fortify Rights, James Rodehaver from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and Paul Luc Vernon from Asia Displacement and Solutions Platform (ADSP).
During the key note’s presentation, Md. Iqbal Uddin said that historically Rohingya were the citizen of Myanmar and their citizenship were revoked and denied after 1982.
The session aimed to promote networking and voices for the Rohingya community and refugee rights for a sustainable solution and strengthen the accountability to the affected populations. It was highlighted the history of Rohingya and repercussions among them, the mobilization of the Rohingya rights worldwide, and the realities of Rohingya refugees across the region. The panelists also emphasized the critical gaps that need to be addressed through the triple nexus approach, reinforcing and addressing critical needs that require high-level advocacy and political commitments across governments and multilaterals, so to promote region-wide commitment to bridge humanitarian responses with peacebuilding and development efforts.
Despite the Rohingya crisis is a regional problem, the solution lies in Myanmar. Its high time to promote and strengthening the voice and leadership role of Rohingya community. Regional efforts and accountability from the Myanmar government must be strengthened until a sustainable, voluntary and dignified repatriation can take place.
Md. Rezaul Karim Chowdhury focused on collective efforts and support Rohingya people even more.
Dr. Ambia Perveen, the chairman of the European Rohingya Council (ERC) and co – founder of Rohingya medics organization (RMO) joined the event virtually and emphasis to promote the rights of Rohingya what we usually enjoy. She said that there are around 4 million Rohingya world wide where only 1% Rohingya are enjoying the human rights, rest 99% Rohingya don’t have human rights like political right or basic human rights. She also said that the solutions of Rohingya issues lies in Myanmar government. She said that international communities specially Bangladesh should focus on ensuring the political rights of Rohingya, so they can advocate for their own.
Ms. Sharifah Shakirah, founder of the Rohingya Women Development Network (RWDN), first Rohingya Women and Refugee women led organization in Malaysia also joined the programme virtually. She requested Bangladesh government to allow Rohingya doing livelihood in Bangladesh as they lost everything in Myanmar.
Paul Luc Vernon from ADSP said that the role of regional network like Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is complicated and not clear in Rohingya crisis and UN should focus on the programmatic issues on the ground and accountable members states in Rohingya issues. He also said that the regional cooperation and mechanism has failed to solve the crisis.
John Quinley from Fortify Rights said that the Rohingya community have leadership capacity and they know how to tackle their issues and our role to support the human rights of the Rohingya survivors.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury said that we want the accountability of Myanmar Janta for the Genocide against Rohingya. The Gambia’s case lodged against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) should be fasten as the justice process is very slow still now. Developed countries including international community and ICJ should issue the warrant against the Myanmar Janata for their genocide. Speakers told about Citizenship of Rohingya must be ensure before repatriation. Bangladesh government should allow them to access to higher education and mobility and also give them to organize politically.