Speakers at a seminar on Saturday emphasised the need for promoting peaceful, inclusive and sustainable responses to Rohingya crisis.
A broad range of Bangladeshi religious leaders, actors, policymakers, academics, civil society and United Nations representatives came up with the call at a discussion styled “Fostering Peaceful and Inclusive Communities in Bangladesh: The Role of Religious Leaders and Actors”.The United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Save and Serve Foundation arranged the two-day programme.
The speakers discussed ways to promote dialogue and social cohesion in Cox’s Bazar following the influx of Rohingya refugees on the closing day of the event, said the UNDP.
Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Md Nojibur Rahman conveyed Sheikh Hasina’s message of support for interfaith initiatives at the event. The initiatives promote social cohesion and respond to pressing development challenges in Cox’s Bazar District resulting from the influx of Rohingya refugees.
Stressing that the government of Bangladesh was fully committed to working with the United Nations and civil society to address the Rohingya crisis, the Principal Secretary encouraged religious leaders to also support this cause.
Adama Dieng, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, commended the commitment demonstrated by the government of Bangladesh in supporting the Rohingya refugees and highlighted that the root causes of the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar must be addressed.
He stressed the importance of ensuring that Rohingya refugees are given opportunities to uplift themselves educationally and have access to livelihood opportunities in Bangladesh until they can return to Myanmar.Religious leaders can play a very important role by promoting messages of peace and tolerance and by fostering dialogue between the Rohingya refugees and host communities, he said.
The Bangladeshi people demonstrated very early on its solidarity towards the Rohingya people, providing them with shelter and support when they arrived, he continued.
“I hope the religious leaders and actors as well as policy makers and civil society representatives present here will continue to show this same humanity”, Adama said.
United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Mia Seppo, emphasised in her remarks that the government and the people of Bangladesh are the biggest donors to the Rohingya response.
The United Nations is committed to assisting Bangladesh, but it was host communities in Cox’s Bazar who were the true ‘first responders, she said.
She praised Bangladeshi host communities for their compassion, stating that Bangladesh’s traumatic experience in 1971, with millions of Bangladeshis forced to flee as refugees, had made the country particularly noble and generous towards refugees from other nations.