Speakers at a seminar on Sunday called for concerted efforts at the national and international levels to amicably resolve the ongoing Rohingya crisis.
They were addressing an international conference titled ‘Promoting Equity, Justice and Human Dignity’, marking the International Human Rights Day 2017.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Bangladesh Chairman Kazi Reazul Hoque chaired the inaugural session of the two-day programme at Bangabandhu Interna-tional Conference Centre in the capital.
Speaking on the occasion as the chief guest, Speaker of the Parliament Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury called upon the UN and other global leaders to take immediate step for a sustainable and effective solution to Rohingya crisis.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened border and provided displaced Rohingyas with shelter, but a country like Bangladesh cannot bear the burden of several lakh outsiders for long, she added.
Referring to the premier’s five-point proposal placed in the recently held UNGA, Dr Shirin said the UN and global leaders should be bent on implementing the proposal for resolving the Rohingya crisis and sending the displaced people to their ancestral home in Rakhine.
About the government’s step to promote human rights, she said implementation of various steps to eradicate poverty, illiteracy and inequality is underway.
Citing the government’s slogan, ‘Leaving on one behind’ to overcome such challenges, the Speaker said steps have been taken to ensure access to opportunity, employment, gender equality, women empowerment and women economic emancipation.
She said imparting education and skill development training to youths is needed to ensure equality and justice in the society.
The Speaker underscored the need for affirmative action and special attention to promote human rights.
Prime Minister’s International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi said Bangladesh bears the brunt of the Rohingya crisis which has been created by Myanmar.
He called for concerted efforts of global leaders to resolve the problem.
About human rights situation in Bangladesh, he said rights of minority and indigenous people are yet to be protected properly and the government alone cannot protect the rights unless private organisations do not come forward.
He suggested that the affected people should be united and cautious about achieving their rights.
René Holenstein, ambassador of Switzerland in Dhaka, termed the Rohingya crisis a major challenge for Bangladesh.
He criticised Myanmar security forces for persecuting Rohingyas in Rakhine state.
Myanmar should respect the minority community in Rakhine state, he added.
He hailed the Bangladesh government for accepting the displaced people from Myanmar on humanitarian ground.
Holenstein expressed his country’s support to Bangladesh in addressing Rohingya issue.
Terming human rights a catalyst for development, he said any country should promote human rights for the interest of economic development and social harmony.
Mia Seppo, resident coordinator of the United Nations and resident representative of the UNDP, said although Bangladesh constitution upholds equality and fundamental rights, special laws should be enacted for enforcement of those rights.
She lauded the government here for constitution of an organisation like NHRC.
She said the UN is proud to be a partner of NHRC in defending human rights since its inception.
She said the role of human rights defenders is very important, saying if voice of human rights workers is silent, the world will be put on great danger, she cautioned.
Kazi Reazul Hoque said Rohingya influx is a big concern for Bangladesh.
Apart from protecting rights of local people, NHRC has been working on the rights of Rohingyas. It is holding seminars participated by international experts to campaign for sending a fact-finding mission to Rakhine. It is making such a campaign in international forum at various programmes abroad.
Participants in Asia Pacific Forum recently accepted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s five-point proposal for resolving Rohingya crisis, said NHRC chairman.
For protecting rights in the country, he said existing laws should be applied properly.
Md Nazrul Islam, full-time member of NHRC, spoke on the occasion while the commission’s secretary, Hiranamaya Baroi was present.
Members of NHRC, its officials, representatives of different human rights organisations in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines attended the event.