Bangladesh: State Minister for Foreign Affairs calls for ensuring basic rights

SHAFAQNA – State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam, MP led Bangladesh delegation to the Extraordinary session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers on the Situation of the Rohingya Muslim Minority in Myanmar, held in Kula Lumpur, Malaysia on 19 January 2017.

In his intervention, State Minister expressed deep concern on recurrence of instability in the Rakhine State resulting in Rakhine Muslims being displaced and uprooted from their ancestral homeland and compelled to take shelter in Bangladesh. Referring to the recent influx of Rakhine Muslims into Bangladesh for shelter, he demanded Myanmar to bring back normalcy into the Rakhine state immediately and take steps for rehabilitation and reconstruction. He stressed on the need for ensuring basic rights of the Rakhine Muslims for a durable solution of the problem with particular emphasis on restoring their citizenship through necessary review of the existing exclusionary citizenship law. The State Minister also demanded urgent measure from Myanmar for a sustainable repatriation of Refugees and all documented and undocumented Myanmar nationals temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh and beyond, to their centuries old homeland-Rakhine State with safety, security and ensured livelihood. He urged the OIC to continue working for a durable solution of the problem.

The Prime Minister of Malaysia Dato Sri Najib Razak inaugurated the Extraordinary Session of the OIC CFM. In his opening remarks, the Prime Minister Najib Razzak highlighted that the international community cannot remain silent at the continued suffering of the Rohingya Muslim Community. He forcefully demanded end to the denial of basic rights of the Rohingya Muslims and atrocities and violence inflicted on them.

OIC ‘s Special Envoy to Myanmar Dr. Hamid Albar presented a report on the plight of the Rohingya Muslims and highlighted their subjection to atrocities, gross violation of human rights and collective punishment under state sponsored violence. He stressed on the need for engaging the international community including Human Rights Council with Myanmar and called upon Myanmar to stop the violence.

OIC countries in general expressed concern on the plight of the Rohingya Muslims, called for end of discrimination and violence against them, and stressed on the need for restoring basic rights including citizenship. Several countries called for strong actions through UN and Human Rights Council. Countries generally expressed a consensus view that this crisis surrounding the Rakhine Muslims is not merely a humanitarian issue rather it deserves to addressed within a human rights perspective.

The Resolution and the Communique adopted at the end of the meeting emphasized on immediate halt of atrocities, unhindered humanitarian access, end of discrimination, ensuring basic rights including restoration of citizenship through reviewing the existing law and sustainable return of refugees & displaced Rohigyas to the Rakhine State. OIC member States urged the OIC Secretary General to engage more with Myanmar, UN and International and regional organizations to address the humanitarian situation and to find a durable solution.

Member States also appreciated Bangladesh’s generosity and efforts in hosting hundreds of thousands Rohingya Muslims for decades and called for early repatriation to their homeland in Rakhine State. Indonesian Foreign Minister Ms. Retno Marsudi thanked Bangladesh for facilitating her visit in Cox’s Bazar to meet the Rohingya refugees and the new arrivals from Rakhine State of Myanmar and informed the meeting that she would be visiting Sittwe shortly.

At the sideline of the event State Minister Shahriar Alam held bilateral meeting with the Foreign Minister of Malaysia Dato Sri Anifah Aman where they discussed different aspects of the bilateral cooperation. State Minister also had a meeting with the OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen . He also had bilateral meetings with State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar Mr. Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi and Mr. Ahmet Yildiz, Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkey.

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