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Rohingya, other global issues to dominate 73rd UN General Assembly

  • Published at 01:52 am September 16th, 2018
File photo of Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp in Ukhiya, Cox's Bazar Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The United Nations says a lot needs to be done to ensure safe return of the Rohingya refugees to Myanmar

The Rohingya issue will come up prominently in the upcoming 73rd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) for the second consecutive year as a number of countries, including Bangladesh, will raise it seeking a sustainable solution to the crisis, officials said.

During the 72nd UNGA session, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina placed a five-point specific proposal to ensure the sustainable return of all Rohingyas in Bangladesh to Myanmar which was appreciated by the international community.

A diplomatic source said Bangladesh is likely to place fresh proposals at the UNGA seeking a stronger role from the international community so that Myanmar acts and takes Rohingyas back, reports UNB.

After the Myanmar Army crackdown in Rakhine state that began on August 25, last year nearly 700,000 displaced Rohingyas entered Bangladesh, while several hundred thousand more have been living in Cox’s Bazar for years.

Countries like the US, the UK, Canada, France, Australia, OIC member states and other countries are also preparing to take up the issue seeking an early solution, said the diplomatic source.

Bangladesh has requested Member States of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to support Rohingya issue in their engagements during the forthcoming UN General Assembly.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam made the request when a 16-member delegation of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States (PUIC) visited Bangladesh recently.

The delegation, comprising of MPs from seven member states of the PUIC, namely Algeria, Iran, Malaysia, Morocco, Sudan and Turkey also visited the Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar.

Western powers have been ineffective in repatriating the Rohingyas | Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat has already met Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque and made it clear that the US will highlight the Rohingya crisis, among others, in the upcoming UNGA, said an official.

The Australian government welcomed the release of the summary report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar that concluded that war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide have occurred in Rakhine State and recommended actions to pursue accountability for the atrocities detailed in the report.

"We will continue to work internationally to this end, including through our position on the Human Rights Council, and at the UN General Assembly," said the Australian High Commission in Dhaka.

On Friday, Deputy Spokesman for the UN secretary general, Farhan Haq, said they still believe that there is much more that needs to be done in order to have conducive conditions for the return of the Rohingya.

But at this stage, he said, they are following up and making sure that the Memorandum of Understanding agreed between the government of Myanmar on one hand and UNDP is implemented.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will leave for New York on September 22 to attend the UNGA.

Heads of state or government, members of their parties and other delegations, observers or individual members will attend the session.

Bangladesh will also highlight the progress made so far, impressive economic growth and issues related to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate change in the UNGA.

The general debate of the 73rd session will be held from September 25 to October 1.