Speakers at a programme here on Thursday urged the global community to play a stronger role for the sustainable repatriation of Rohingyas to their place of origin in Rakhine state of Myanmar.
While addressing the panel discussion titled ‘Rohingya: The Need for Justice and Rights in Rakhine 2020’ at the Brac Centre Inn, they also called for imposing strict economic sanctions on Myanmar and putting pressure on its military to resolve the Rohingya crisis.
The Centre for Peace and Justice of Brac University and the Centre for Genocide Studies of Dhaka University (DU) organised the programme.
Prof Imtiaz Ahmed of DU’s International Relations department said the international community should play a stronger role over the Rohingya repatriation. “More countries should come forward to support the Rohingya repatriation. However, many countries except a few, including Canada and the Netherlands, are silent over Rohingya rights. More countries should support The Gambia, too,” he said.
He said Bangladesh faced genocide during its Liberation War and now the country is suffering for genocide against Rohingyas. “The international community should put pressure on Myanmar military.”
Underscoring the need for higher education for Rohingya people, Prof Imtiaz said DU and Brac University started research in this regard.
“Many more seminars on Rohingyas rights should be arranged in the UK and other countries of the world instead of Bangladesh only,” he added.
Philip Ruddock, mayor of Hornsby Shire of Australia, underlined the need for citizenship of Rohingyas. “Rohingya people should be repatriated with dignity and safety,” he said.
Tun Khin, president of Burmese Rohingya Organisation, UK, said the international community should continue to push Myanmar to improve conditions for Rohingya, including implementation of the provisional measures imposed by the International Court of Justice last month.
He said at least 21 Rohingya people, including four children, died and dozens others were missing after a boat capsized off the coast of southern Bangladesh while they were trying to reach Malaysia.
“Today’s drowning which was an avoidable tragedy speaks of the sufferings of Rohingyas. Denied citizenship and violently uprooted from their homes, many see no way out but to put their lives in the hands of traffickers to create a future for themselves and their children,” Tun Khin added.
Manzoor Hasan, executive director of Centre for Peace and Justice, said Rakhine state is descending into growing turmoil.
“Sadly, Myanmar’s mess has affected Bangladesh, and even worse, some countries are acting as aiders and abettors to make the situation worse. The international community can’t walk away from this situation but vigorously continue to put pressure on it by keeping the spotlight on the real issues,” he added.
Dr Hla Myint, president of Rohingya Intellectual Community Association of Australia (RICAA), Md Shahidul Haque, former foreign secretary, also spoke on the occasion.
The 6th session of 11th parliament, which is the first session of the calendar year, was prorogued on Tuesday after 28 sittings.
Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury read out the prorogation order of the President around 8:33pm.
Seven bills were passed during the session which began on January 9.
The session also unanimously adopted a thanksgiving motion on the President’s speech delivered in the first sitting. Altogether, 224 MPs discussed for 54 hours and 24 minutes participating in the general discussion on the thanksgiving motion.
During the session, 235 notices were placed under Section 71 of the Rules of Procedure, of which 12 were accepted and eight were discussed in the House.
A total of 124 questions were received for the prime minister. She replied to 55 of them. The session received 2,902 questions for different ministers with the ministers answering 2375.
Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) on Tuesday described the proposal of Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) to hike water tariff by 80 percent at residential and commercial levels as ‘irrational, repressive and unacceptable’.
It also called for fixing a rational rate through public hearings involving experts after ensuring adequate supply and better quality.
In a statement, TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said the proposal of Dhaka Wasa is contradictory to its own regulations, said a press release.
“Dhaka Wasa proposes to increase the price of water from Tk 11.57 to Tk 20 per unit at the residential level while from Tk 37.04 to Tk 65 at the commercial level (overall upto 80 percent), which is totally unreasonable and unacceptable. This proposal contradicts the provision of price increases of upto 5 percent annually under the Wasa Act 1996,” he said.
Dr Iftekharuzzaman also mentioned that the price hike will lead to more sufferings on and irritation of the already frustrated city dwellers back on the heels of its failure to provide adequate and safe water.
“In particular, unfair pressure on lower income people will increase,” he added.
Referring to the data of a TIB study on Dhaka Wasa published in April 2019, the TIB chief said, "The study found that 44.8 percent of the connection holders under Dhaka Wasa don’t get water as per the demand, 51.5 percent of the water supplied is not clean and 41.4 percent of the supplied water has bad odour.”
Overall, 37.5 percent of people are dissatisfied with the quality and irregularities of the Wasa service, he said. “Therefore, this proposal of unilaterally increasing the price of water without taking opinions of the service-seekers and without specific and timely planning to eradicate the internal corruption and system losses will impose an unfair burden on customers, which is unacceptable. ”
The TIB called for formation of a separate regulatory framework for determining the price of water and sanitation services and set up a board with neutral and impartial persons to determine the power and responsibilities of the Wasa board.
A Science Olympiad titled ‘Precise Energy’ organised by the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom will begin from February 22, for the universities of Rajshahi Division.
The Olympiad will be held in two stages, said a press release of Rosatom on Tuesday.
The primary round will be held from February 22 to 24 at Rajshahi University, Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (RUET), Pabna University of Science and Technology (PUST) and Kushtia Islamic University (IU).
The participants will have to prove their basic knowledge in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry altogether.
According to Rosatom, a total of 160 students selected from the primary round will be divided in three groups based on their own options of discipline and will sit for tests either on Mathematics, Physics or Chemistry.
The second round will take place at Ishwardi town, near Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant project from February 26, which will be followed by a closing ceremony at a local auditorium of Ishwardi on February 28, on the concluding day.
The ceremony will be attended by the second round participants, representatives from the organisers, local administration and media among others.
Winners from each discipline will get attractive prizes including a week-long education trip to Russia, at a special ceremony that will be held in Dhaka on March.
Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) at Rooppur village of Pabna district in Rajshahi division is under construction with the financial and technological assistance of Russia.
The NPP will host two energy blocks with latest 3+ Generation Russian VVER-1200 reactors. Each block will be of 1200 MW capacity, said the Rosatom.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on Tuesday filed a fresh petition with the High Court seeking bail in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case, citing illness.
The petition was moved before the bench of Justice Obaidul Hassan and Justice AKM Zahirul Huq, said Khaleda’s lawyer Advocate Sagir Hossain Leon.
It was mentioned in the petition that the BNP chairperson is seriously ill and she needs advanced treatment. “Khaleda is not getting proper treatment at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU). She wants to go to London for better treatment if she gets bail.”
On December 12, 2019, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court turned down the bail petition of Khaleda Zia in the graft case.
A special court jailed the BNP chief and three others for seven years in the corruption case on October 29, 2018.
On August 8, 2011, the Anti-Corruption Commission filed the Zia Charitable Trust case with Tejgaon police against four people, including Khaleda. They were accused of abusing power in raising funds for the trust from unknown sources.
The former prime minister has been in prison since February 8, 2018 after she was sentenced to jail for five years in a separate corruption case.