UK's International Ambassador for Human Rights Rita French has said accountability for atrocities is essential for Myanmar to move towards peace and stability.
"The UK is deeply concerned by the restrictions Rohingya face on their freedom of movement," Rita said while delivering statement during the Interactive Dialogue on the situation of human rights of Rohingya people recently.
In recent months, she said, restrictions have increased, according to British Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
Noting that Covid-19 creates legitimate, albeit limited, reasons for restrictions, these are disproportionately affecting Rohingya, said Rita.
"Systematic barriers to movement prevent most from accessing adequate healthcare. Bureaucratic processes frequently delay their access to medical care causing lasting harm or death," she said.
The systematic discrimination facing the Rohingya in Myanmar prevents them from living safe and dignified lives.
Rita said they welcome Myanmar’s commitment to complying with the ICJ’s provisional measures.
"We call on the government to demonstrate that by significantly easing restrictions, reforming documentation and permission requirements in line with recommendations 18-23 of the Rakhine Advisory Commission and recommendation 16 of the Independent Commission of Enquiry," she said.
The UK welcomed the valuable work of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar in collecting evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law.
The government of Myanmar must cooperate with its mandate, Rita said.
Kanni Wignaraja, UN Assistant Secretary-General has said that four key issues frame the agenda for future of work -- digital transformation, green jobs, reliance of adaptive techniques, and closing the gender gap in jobs.
“If countries, communities and households are going to have a chance to recover and get back to having a decent and sustainable means of livelihood, then the future of work must be addressed and it must be done quickly,” said Wignaraja, also Assistant Administrator & Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific of UNDP.
With a view to facilitating South-South cooperation and accelerating Bangladesh towards a more robust economy with consideration of the many challenges it is facing, the UNDP in collaboration with its Bangkok Regional Hub launched the Future of Work Lab over a virtual programme, said UNDP on Friday.
Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP, Van Nguyen delivered the welcome remarks at the session, followed by official inauguration by Wignaraja.
Located in Bangladesh, the Lab will support the Asia Pacific region.
“Its success will very much depend on the partnerships it forms… it requires a network of public and private sector, UN partners such as ILO and the Office of SS, academia and NGOs,” said Wignaraja.
A report titled “Post COVID-19 Jobs and Skills in Bangladesh” was also launched at the session, which identifies 11 high impact sectors where jobs have been lost, and five emerging sectors where new jobs are being created.
Over the next 20 years, huge changes are expected in the Future of Work (FoW) for Bangladesh as automation, artificial intelligence, fourth industrial revolution and other trends, such as the shift to a circular economy, threaten existing jobs in key industries such as garments and textiles.
SDG Integration Lead of UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub, Christine Wellington-Moore and Lead of Future of Work and South- South Cooperation Team at a2i, Asad-Uz-Zaman delivered a presentation on Future of Work Lab in Bangladesh.
A recent study commissioned by a2i suggested that due to COVID, 20.45 million people already lost their jobs in Informal and SME, Transportation, Construction, Furniture, Readymade Garments & Textile, Leather Goods & Footwear, Tourism & Hospitality, Light Engineering, Migration, Ceramic and Real Estate & Housing Sector. It also shows that by the end of 2021, 3.92 million new jobs will be created in emerging sectors, like Agro-Food, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, ICT & e-Commerce and Creative Media Sector.
a2i has worked with the Bangkok Regional Hub to develop Future of Work lab, which will move beyond merely matching demand and skill to take into account social protection, safe migration of workers, entrepreneurship support, digital transformation to ensure continuity of public and private sector services, and resilience of key supply chains etc.
During a panel discussion, Sudipto Mukerjee, Resident Representative of UNDP said in Bangladesh, there is a mixed trend in terms of business. Some big corporates will use this to invest in generating social goodwill.
He said investments will be made to make the supply chain more resilient towards climate change and other issues.
"Another group will repurpose, for example, RMG producers might opt to produce PPEs. But there will be another category, although reducing in numbers that will continue to be irresponsible and exploitive. This last group has to be monitored by the government. We have to help ease the process of transition. This is a time for solidarity and all of us need to come and work together.”
Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said, “Whenever ambitious plans such as Future of Work Lab are developed, we do it in the face of challenges. This time, the challenge is the pandemic. But there are advantages as well -- this fiscal year’s budget has a 14 percent allocation for the social safety net. We have recently approved a three billion dollar programme for youth’s skill-building. So there is reason for optimism for the future.”
Denis Nkala, Regional Coordinator (Asia – Pacific) at United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, Denis Nkala; UNDP Bhutan Resident Representative Azusa Kubota; UNDP Maldives RR Akiko Fujii and Policy Adviser of a2i, Anir Chowdhury also spoke in the panel.
Current and former diplomats have suggested short term and long term plans to effectively overcome challenges in the current and post-COVID-19 era.
In a virtual meeting, they emphasised taking bilateral, regional and multilateral initiatives considering geopolitical reality.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen presided over the meeting hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam and Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen joined from the MoFA.
Among former foreign secretaries and ambassadors, M R Osmani, Farooq Sobhan, CM Shafi Sammi, Shomsher Mobin Chowdhury, AKM Atiqur Rahman, M Shahidul Haque, M Abdul Mannan, M Humayun Kabir and Mohsin Ali Khan joined, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
They discussed possible adverse impact of COVID-19 on Bangladesh and ways to overcome them.
The foreign affairs experts appreciated the government initiative in strengthening bilateral and regional ties with India, China, USA, and the European Union.
They sought initiative so that Bangladesh continues to enjoy duty and quota free market access after coming out the from the list of least developed countries.
The experts appreciated recent quota free market access to China.
Dr Momen said the recommendations that came from the discussion will be considered with due importance in various activities of the MoFA.
He said such discussions will continue in the coming days.
Bangladesh Railways and Indian Railways showed a significant progress in cooperation amid coronavirus crisis with a record by running more than 100 trains in June this year.
Indian Railways handed over 103 freight trains carrying essential commodities such as onions, ginger, chilies, maize, turmeric, rice seed, sugar, finished products, and raw materials for industries to Bangladesh Railways last month.
Though there are regular freight train operations between both the railways, for the first time the numbers of freight trains operated by both the Railways have crossed the 100 mark, said the Indian High Commission in Dhaka on Thursday.
Both the railways had come up with solutions to transport all the essential commodities across the border when the lockdown and transport restrictions were imposed by both the countries to tackle the spread of Covid-19.
Many importers are now using the rail route for transporting their goods though usually they are not reliant upon the rail transportation services.
Upon seeing the success of the movement of goods by rail, now Bangladesh Railways has permitted to introduce the Parcel Train Service between India and Bangladesh.
The carrying capacity of the parcel train will be 238 metric tons.
This will be a great opportunity for traders to import a smaller quantity of goods, said the Indian side.
Earlier, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das had requested the Ministry of Railways, NBR, and Ministry of Commerce to look into railways as a viable option during several video conference meetings arranged by the High Commission of India.
After discussions, now NBR and Bangladesh Railways have agreed to facilitate Container Train Service through Benapole-Petrapole Rail Link.
It is expected that these initiatives will widely serve the importers and exporters requirements in the current crisis and help in minimising the disruption in the supply chain, said the Indian High Commission.
The European Union (EU) has announced €32 million or Tk 304 crore in funding to contribute to the needs of Bangladeshi host communities of Cox’s Bazar and Rohingya in the camps.
The allocation came in support to the generous efforts deployed by Bangladesh by hosting around one million Rohingya.
Some € 12 million or Tk 114 crore will be dedicated to COVID-19 responses and € 20 million or Tk 190 crore will address the need of both host communities and Rohingya through an integrated approach on improved access to basic services in education, food security and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and enhance their resilience and protection.
The €20 million action also includes a complementary small cross-border operation worth € 1 million to enhance conflict sensitivity and mutual understanding among CSOs assisting the refugee, IDP and host communities on the other side of the border.
All EU-funded activities will address important cross-cutting issues such as Protection of Girls and Women, Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), and psychosocial support.
“The € 32 million funding is an important contribution to Bangladesh’s continuous generosity and humanity in hosting Rohingya that fled neighbouring Myanmar”, said EU Ambassador to Bangladesh Rensje Teerink.
“It is part of the Team Europe global response to COVID-19 in the country with a specific component to support the needs of both Bangladeshi Host Communities of Cox’s Bazar and Rohingya in the camps to address the crisis worsened by the pandemic”, she added.
The funding contributes to the 2030 Agenda's call to ‘leave no one behind’, in line with the Strategic Objectives of the UN Joint Response Plan 2020 including the current COVID19 challenges. It promotes a comprehensive, development-led response to forced displacement, in line with EU policy and the Team Europe global response to COVID-19.
The actions will be implemented by UNHCR, UNICEF and UNOPS.