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CPC delegates for adopting resolution on Rohingya crisis
Expressing their solidarity with Bangladesh over the Rohingya issue, lawmakers from the Commonwealth countries on Sunday stressed the need for resolving the crisis.
They also proposed adopting a resolution over the Rohingya issue in the general assembly of the 63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) being held here.
At a briefing of Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali on the Rohingya issue at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city, some lawmakers, including a Canadian MP, described the persecution of Rohingyas as ‘genocide’.
The Foreign Minister briefed the delegates of the Commonwealth countries who are participating in the 63rd CPC, the CPA’s annual conference, on the manmade disaster.
Following their proposal at the briefing, Chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Executive Committee Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury said the CPA will seriously consider adopting a resolution over the ongoing Rohingya crisis in the general assembly of the conference.
The CPA chief chaired the briefing moderated by its secretary general Akbar Khan.
Taking the floor, British House of Lords lawmaker George Foulkes termed ‘genocide’ the persecution of Rohingyas in Rakhine State of Myanmar. “It’ll be intolerable, it’ll be impossible if we leave Bangladesh without passing a resolution on the issue on Tuesday (the day the general assembly will be held),” he said.
The participants supported his proposal with big claps.
The UK lawmaker said the whole British delegation will ask the conference to visit Cox’s Bazar to see on the ground the exact situation of the Rohingyas. “It’s genocide and there’s is no doubt about it,” he added.
Malta Speaker Angelo Farrugia first placed the proposal to adopt a resolution on the issue terming it a great humanitarian crisis. The participants also welcomed the proposal giving a big hand.
Margaret Quirk, member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly, wanted to know the stance of India and China over the Rohingya issue.
In reply, Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali said Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during her recent Dhaka visit conveyed India’s solidarity with Bangladesh. “They are with us.”
About China, he said, China sent aid assistance for the Rohingya people who entered Bangladesh fleeing persecution in Rakhine. “Their language is different. But they have also generally agreed with the idea in the (UN) Security Council,” he said.
Replying to another query on how many Rohingyas are still in Rakhine, the Foreign Minister said it is difficult to say. “Some 1.1 million Rohingyas have so far entered Bangladesh. They arrived here before and after August 25,” he said, adding that few hundred thousand may be left behind.
Canada MP Salma Ataullahjan said Canada had an emergency debate and decided to call it ‘genocide as it is’. Bangladesh has one million refugees, that is why Canada committed 25 million dollar as the first step to help the Rohingyas and work with Bangladesh government.
“Canada is a very much humanitarian country. If they have refugee designation, perhaps we can be part of the solution,” she added.
Pakistan MP Nafisa Shah said Pakistani parliaments -- both Senate and national assembly-- passed resolutions showing extreme concern on the Rohingya issue.
“We also read out support to Bangladesh. We’re empathised with Bangladesh in this difficult hour. We also completely stand with Bangladesh’s position that it is the government of Myanmar which has to take back the Rohingyas, give them citizenship and place them on equal status with other citizens,” she said.
Wales lawmaker Mohammad Asghar proposed reaching a consensus to condemn the Myanmar government.
Expressing solidarity with Bangladesh’s position on the Rohongya issue, a Cameron lawmaker said, “We’re united with you as a country and as a nation.”
Concluding the briefing, the CPA chairperson said the proposal for adopting a resolution from the CPA will be considered very seriously.”
She said Bangladesh also needs the support of the Commonwealth parliaments and Commonwealth governments to a proposal placed before the United Nations Security Council.
Dr Shirin said the Commonwealth parliamentarians can also adopt resolutions in their own parliaments on the Rohingya crisis.
In the briefing, the Foreign Minister urged the parliamentarians to play a role in their own governments so that they would be co-sponsors of the proposal placed for the UN Security Council’s 3rd committee meeting scheduled to be held on November 16 next.
Some 500 lawmakers from 114 provincial and national parliaments of 44 Commonwealth countries are participating in the eight-day CPA conference that began on November 1.