Dated: Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Bangladesh Law Minister Call for Logical Solution of Rohingya Problem

Chittagong, July06: Bangladesh Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Barrister Maudud Ahmed called for a logical solution of Rohingya problem through negotiation yesterday, according to Staff Correspondent. 

He was addressing in the seminar that was jointly organized by Centers for Development Studies, Bandhujana Lawyers Association and Human Rights Forum to put forward recommendations based on Amnesty International report on “Myanmar: The Rohingya Minority Fundamental Rights Denied,” as a chief gust at the National Press Club, Dhaka. 

“It is no problem to solve this great problem. UNHCR is here that to see the refugee problems. We are hopeful that all Rohingya refugees shall be able to repatriate. Myanmar is our neighboring country so we have to move a head through negotiation, he said.

The constitution of Bangladesh has a lot of provisions in Article No.31 and 44 on refugees, which is rare in other countries. We are also looking in depth that the necessity of law enforcement in Bangladesh constitution for refugees, Minister further said. 

There are about 150 people participated at the seminar. Most of them are Bangladeshi Lawyers from Bangladesh Supreme Court and Judge Court Dhaka. 

Prof. Dr. C. R. Abrar of Department of International Relation, Dhaka University and also Executive Editor of Refugee & Migratory Movement Research Unit (RMMRU) chaired the seminar while human rights workers and representatives from civil society groups spoke on the occasion. They called for a persuasive policy towards Burma to stop oppression on Rohingyas and ensure their rights and freedom. 

According to unofficial figure, tens of thousands of Rohingya have been staying in Bangladesh. UNHCR should study their case either they fall in criteria of refugees or not. Many of the repatriated Rohingyas again entered Bangladesh, as the human rights situation in their homeland remains the same as before, he further added. 

The speakers blamed the big powers and the international media for playing double standard role in raising voice against human rights violations.  

Special guest ambassador M. M. Rezaul Karim advisor to Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia said, “ Mr. Abrar and me are signatory of numbers of convention on human rights and Mr. Abrar is associated with UNHCR. However, the Rohingya refugees are suffering, “we can blame some people for this but can not force them return.” 

He also said that Bangladesh is not able to accommodate refugees but is cordial to them despite so many problems.  

Advocate Abdul Motin Khashru, former Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs said, “We know very well about the anxiety of refugees because of our experiences in 1971. We have feeling about Rohingya problem on the base of national interest and that he requested to the organizers to hold more seminars on the Rohingya issue so as to aware the peoples of the world”. 

He also underscored the need to create international opinion on refugees across the world mentioning that when human rights are violated in East Timor, the super powers become vocal, but none of them raises voice against such violations taking place in Palestine and other Muslim states. 

Prof. Asif Nazrul of department of Law of the Dhaka University said although we knew about the violation of human rights across the world we did not know properly about Rohingyas. So, we should study more and more and take awareness campaign for Rohingya problem. 

According to Advocate Kohinur of Bangladesh Supreme court, Bangladeshi people should take an initiative for the education of Rohingya children and youths. 

Abul Hasan Chawdhury, former State Minister for Foreign Affairs said all governments of Bangladesh took positive steps for Rohingya refugees.

“We have to protest against violation of human rights all over the world. Without a clear diplomacy Burma’s policy could not be changed. This Rohingya problem should put up in regional forum. So we should take an immediate initiative to the problem,” he further added. 

In addition, there are some speakers who stress grievances of Rohingya refugees who have been forced for repatriation without a permanent solution of the problem. So, they appealed to international community to take necessary step for the crisis.  

They also appealed to the UNHCR to enforce the UN mandate of settlement and resettlement on humanitarian ground while the time of repatriation has over. He also sought cooperation from the government of Bangladesh, UNHCR, NGOs and all Bangladeshi people. 

The Amnesty International published reports on Rohingya minority where they pointed out the Rohhingya’s problem. 

The report says the Rohingya's freedom of movement is severely limited. They are also subjected to forced eviction, land confiscation and various forms of extortion and arbitrary taxation, including restriction on marriage. Rohingyas continue to be used as forced laborers on construction of roads and military camps. 

Adding on the reports, Mr. Iqbal, a former Upazila Chairman of Naikongchary said, “We have eyewitness on forced labors, forced relocation, destruction of Mosques and new settlement of Bangladeshi Buddhists in the land of Rohingya Muslims.” Rohingyas are being used for forced labors for the establishment of Buddhist Maghs, Marmas from Bangladesh. ## 

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