President Abdul Hamid on Sunday urged the OIC member states as well as the international community to come forward and resolve the ongoing Rohingya crisis in Myanmar and protect the persecuted Rohingya Muslims’ rights to live and return to their homeland in Myanmar’s Rakhine state with safety and dignity.
“I would like to take this opportunity to draw your kind attention to the need for protecting Rohingya Muslims as they are deprived of all rights, including citizenship, and faced with existential threat due to repeated atrocities and displacements,” he said while addressing the first OIC Summit on Science and Technology at the Palace of Independence in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Hamid informed the OIC leaders that Bangladesh is directly affected with this problem as the Rohingya are fleeing across the border to Bangladesh. “Bangladesh has given shelter to them only on humanitarian grounds,” he said.
Since the latest military crackdown began in Rakhine two weeks ago following a series of attacks on Myanmar law enforcement by insurgents, nearly 300,000 Rohingya refugees have entered Bangladesh seeking refuge, according to the UNHCR.
Highlighting the advancement of technology, Hamid said science, technology and innovation are a key to improving the quality of life and transforming society. The technologies of the 21st century is evolving even faster, bringing greater ease in work and communication, drastically reducing time and space barriers, and increasing speed and productivity.
He termed science and technology a game-changer in poverty alleviation and development, and proposed taking joint plan of action for selecting, using and tasking institutions in the member states for research and development collaboration with OIC institutional support, taking up specialised high-tech industry, and developing mechanisms, networks and associations of scientists and entrepreneurs.
“We must continue our collective journey in science and technology until the gravity shifts and the Muslim world stands on the vantage ground of technology leadership in place of mere technology use,” he added.
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and OIC Secretary General Dr Yousef Al Othaimeen, among others, spoke on the occasion.