A consortium of rights organizations based in Cox’s Bazar has called on the government to ease the concentration of Rohingya refugee camps in the district by shifting those to other districts, as the economy and ecology of the district are in danger.
Sixteen civil society organizations and non-government organizations from Cox’s Bazar, which recently formed the Cox’s Bazar CSO-NGO Forum (CCNF), made the call from a press conference held at Dhaka Reporters Unity on Thursday.
Leaders of the forum also called upon the government for enhancement of involvement of UNHCR in the Rohingya crisis.
Moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST , also Co-Chair of CCNF, the press conference was addressed, among others, by Rashed from Nongar Cox’s Bazar, Jashim from ADAB, Aminur Rasul Babul from Unnayan Dhara and Moqbul from COAST too.
In his speech, Rashed said that, due to Rohingya influx there will be total population increase of 62 % in Cox’s Bazar district by the end of this year while in the country is only 13 %.
There are huge Rohingya pockets in Cox’s Bazar town and also along the Marine drive, who should be shifted immediately, he said, adding that the government and civil society must take steps on campaign to bring the Myanmar government and her army to the International Court of Justice in the Hague for genocide.
Moqbul demanded studies of Rohingya impact on natural resources, health and economy of Cox’s Bazar then there should be announcement of recovery steps from government before the next budget.
He also urged for minimum 20% development investment from aid money for the host community.
Aminur Rasul Babul said Cox’s Bazar district administration and Rohingya relief operation should be separated upgrading Relief Commissioner Office to “Secretary” level, and army officials should be deputed in the office for information, monitoring and coordination.
He also said that UNHCR should take lead of this Rohingya relief operation as they are mandated by UN, and UNHCR should have been involved in biometric registration too.
Rezaul Karim Chowdury said that UN agencies and international non-government organization must withdraw from direct operation and they should work through partnership with local non-government organization as they are committed for localization and to reduce their transaction cost.
The group has distributed a position paper which contains 41 demands with analysis, divided in nine sections, including shifts Rohingya in other places in ensuring their basic rights, government must take full control of the relief operation, position and office of Relief Commissioner have to be upgraded, tackle the possible factors of terrorism, provide space to propagate alternative philosophy of human right and secularism, Strengthen long term political campaign to bring the Myanmar government and armies in the international court of justice in the Hague as like what happened for Rwanda and Czechoslovakia.