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Dhaka Tribune

Civil society leaders: UN failed to resolve Rohingya crisis

Environmental and funding issues are rising, according to the leaders of the civil society

Update : 24 Aug 2022, 09:34 PM

A group of civil society leaders on Wednesday said that the international community, including the United Nations, has completely failed to

 exert effective pressure on Myanmar to take back the Rohingyas to their homeland.

This emerged during an online discussion meeting organized by Cox's Bazar CSO-NGO Forum (CCNF).

The discussants said Bangladesh is bearing the brunt of the Rohingya crisis even though the fault lies with Myanmar therefore, the international community must pressure Myanmar to take back their nationals.

The meeting, organized by CCNF, a network of around 50 local and national organizations working in Cox's Bazar, was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Co-chair of the forum and Executive Director of COAST Foundation, and Abu Morshed Chowdhury, another Co-chair and Chief Executive of PHALS. 

Shireen Haque of Naripokkho, Barrister Mazoor Hasan of BRAC University's Center for Peace and Justice, Disaster Forum's Gowher Nayeem Wahra, YPSA's Md. Arifur Rahman, Sheuli Sharma of Jago Nari Unnayan Sangtsha , Md. Mujibul Rahman of Sushilan, Sangeeta Ghosh of ACLAB and Co-Chair of CCNF and Chief Executive of Mukti Cox's Bazar Bimal Chandra Dey Sarkar and Member Secretary of the Network Md Jahangir Alam also spoke at the event.

Civil Society Un Failed Resolves Rohingya Crisis UNB

 Abu Murshed said there are about 1.2 million Rohingya people are living in Bangladesh. Except for a few UN resolutions, there has been no successful effort to return them to Myanmar thus far, which has left the Rohingya population as well as the locals unsure and frustrated. To secure repatriation, formal and informal diplomacy, known as track-2 diplomacy, should be prioritized, he mentioned.

Bimal Chandra said: “Nearly half of the Rohingya populations are children and young adults. This sizable population must participate in a variety of camp activities and receive technical and life skills training. This will lessen their likelihood of going astray, and even if they return to Myanmar, they will be able to establish respectable jobs.”

Environmental effect

Md Mujibur said emphasizing the effect on the environment, the construction of the camp caused harm to around 6,000 acres of mountainous terrain and 2,000 acres of forest. A little over 2,500 families working in social forestry did not get compensation. The water level is going down also to save nature the use of plastic in camps should be banned since it is such a significant problem. An environmental pool fund should be created for environmental restoration.

Shirin Haque added that until the repatriation, special programs should be implemented for the women of the Rohingya camps and tree plantation programs should be implemented in camps.

Strategic approach

Gowher Nayeem said the repatriation should be kept at the centre of the Rohingya program. A national strategy for resettlement should be developed and the implementation progress of the plan should be regularly reviewed. Also, the communication between the civil societies of the respective countries including Bangladesh and Myanmar should be increased.

Md. Jahangir Alam said: “The local government institutions should be involved in the planning and execution of the Rohingya program and should take lead in carrying out operations on the ground to cut costs as the participation of local organizations in the Rohingya program is insufficient at present.”

Md Arifur said intelligence gathering should be intensified in the camps to prevent the formation of any new religious extremist organizations. If such groups emerge within the camp, the country will be in jeopardy.

General Secretary of Ukhiya Reporters Unity Rafiq Uddin said that although the Rohingya camp recently got help in repairing the Rohingya houses damaged by fire, the local 14 families there did not get any help. Special attention should also be given to all affected local families.

Barrister Manzoor said, the international community, especially the United Nations, has failed in repatriation. ASEAN also failed in this regard. The Rohingya crisis has become a protracted crisis, requiring regional and international initiatives. There is no alternative to implementing a localization roadmap to deal with the crisis as funding is dwindling.

Rezaul Karim said that the comprehensive development program of the government is being implemented for Cox's Bazar. Up to 70 projects totaling roughly 3.3billion dollar are now being carried out. The development efforts in Cox's Bazar must be kept safe from all dangers in order to preserve the nation's wealth. 

Lastly, Sangeeta Ghosh said reproductive health services should be ensured for teenagers. 

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