Dhaka, Dec 18 (UNB) - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said Asean must take tough measures to put pressure on Myanmar and its de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to end atrocities against the Muslim Rohingya.
“We can appeal to the government of Myanmar, but if there is no response and the atrocities continue, Asean must support international moves to stop this abuse of authority and injustice in Myanmar,” Mahathir said in an interview with The Nation, a national daily of Thailand, over the weekend.
About 800,000 Rohingyas have fled Myanmar’s strife-torn Rakhine state to Bangladesh since August last year, when militant attacks on security outposts prompted a heavy-handed “clearance operation” by the Myanmar military (Tatmadaw) that claimed thousands of lives.
Muslim residents of Rakhine faced arson, torture, gang rape and murder and many were forced to flee their homes. The United Nations and the United States dubbed the onslaught by the Tatmadaw “genocide”.
The UN called for Myanmar’s generals to face the International Criminal Court or an international tribunal on the charge.
“Asean has to learn how to bring pressure on governments that are not treating their own people with fairness and justice,” he said.
“If Asean just allows these people to be massacred, it doesn’t seem we are acting responsibly.”
While the government in Nay Pyi Taw set up and sponsored several committees to address the crisis in Rakhine, Suu Kyi was criticised for delaying action and doing little to tackle the problem at its roots.
Mahathir said he and other foreign leaders has urged Suu Kyi to help the Rohingya, just as other nations rallied to protect her when she was a victim of injustice under Myanmar’s former military regime from 1989-2010.
“Aung San Suu Kyi once fought against the military, but now she is a member of the government and is not able to have any influence over the military,” Mahathir said.
“She should not associate herself with the military. They were unjust to her and now they are unjust to the Rohingya.”
Thousands of Rohingya have refused plans set out by Myanmar and Bangladesh to repatriate them, fearing for their safety should they return.
Predominantly Buddhist Myanmar does not seem to want them back, The Nation quoted Mahathir as saying.
“Their fear of more violence is such that they would risk a dangerous journey across the Indian Ocean to Southeast Asia, where thousands have sought asylum in mainly Muslim Indonesia and Malaysia, he said.
Mahathir said Malaysia wanted to send them back to Myanmar, but they do not want to go back. “They might stay longer – they won’t become Malaysian citizens, but they will be [accepted as] refugees.”
Visiting Thailand since Saturday, Mahathir was conferred a prestigious Thai honorary doctorate by Rangsit University in recognition of his statesmanship.
He told The Nation that Malaysia’s newly appointed peace facilitator Abdul Rahim Noor, a former police chief who is familiar with problems in the southern border area with Thailand, would help install peace in the predominantly Muslim region.
Thailand, which will chair Asean next year, should offer more autonomy to south to undermine independence support, said the Malaysian Prime Minister.
Dhaka, Dec 18 (UNB)-US Ambassador in Dhaka Earl M Miller has said his country encourages all to participate in the democratic and electoral process and avoid violence.
The US keeps encouraging a free, fair, credible, participatory and peaceful election, the US ambassador told reporters after a meeting with a BNP delegation at its Chairperson’s Gulshan office on Tuesday.
The meeting began at 12:50 pm and ended at 1:10pm.
“We are concerned about the reports of violence. We all must avoid violence and we all must condemn violence that we have had discussed with BNP leaders and we are agreed. I also encourage everyone to participate in democratic and electoral process,” he said.
He said the system simply can’t work if everyone doesn’t have access to playing field and entry to polls. I encourage everyone to go out and to campaign fully and freely and participate in the December 30 election.
“We must eschew violence of any forms,” he added.
BNP leaders Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan , Nazrul Islam Khan, Ameer Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury and Abdul Awal Mintoo were present.
Dhaka, Dec 18 (UNB) - US Ambassador in Dhaka Earl M Miller has said his country encourages everyone, no matter the political party or sentiment, to act peacefully and responsibly and eschew and condemn violence.
He also said the United States will support election observers across Bangladesh, according to a message the US Embassy shared on its verified Facebook page on Tuesday morning.
Ambassador Miller met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Gonobhaban on Monday.
They discussed the need for free, fair, credible and peaceful elections that reflect the will of the Bangladeshi people.
The national election is scheduled to be held on December 30.
Ambassador Miller and the Prime Minister discussed the strong enduring ties between the United States and Bangladesh and challenges they can work together to address in partnership.
Dhaka, Dec 17 (UNB) - Bangladesh Ambassador to the Netherlands Sheikh Mohammed Belal has said the young generation should come up with forward-looking ideas and initiatives towards achieving long-cherished goal of Sonar Bangla.
“Since the future of the country is in the hand of the new generation, it’s very much important to inculcate the spirit of nationalism and Liberation War into them,” he said reminding the young generation of paying back to the invaluable sacrifices of the martyrs.
Ambassador Belal made the remarks at a discussion held in The Hague on Sunday marking the 48th Victory Day. The Embassy of Bangladesh in The Hague celebrated the day with due solemnity and festivity on the Embassy premises.
He paid homage to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and recalled how his leadership inspired the whole Bengali nation to be united to fight for the independence, said the Bangladesh Embassy in The Hague on Monday.
Mentioning few instances of development wonders attained under the able leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the ambassador hoped that this development spree will remain persistent in all over the country.
Ambassador Belal also expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister for her leadership on successful completion of Bangladesh Delta Plan (BDP)-2100 and also thanked the Netherlands for their sustained support.
Bangladesh community in the Netherlands has urged all to join hands to uphold the development spirit of Bangladesh and fulfill the dream of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Golden Bangla.
They spoke on significance of the Victory Day and Liberation War in their life and highlighted the role of expatriate community and Bangladesh Embassies to make a bridge so that the expatriate community can add value in the process of nation building.
Zainal Abedin, Golam Rabbani and Tanbira Talukder among others spoke representing Bangladesh community in the Netherlands.
The programme commenced with the hoisting of national flag at full mast by Ambassador Belal.
At the outset, one minute silence was observed in honour of the martyred freedom fighters who sacrificed their invaluable lives in the Liberation War.
Homage was also paid to Bangabandhu, all freedom fighters and all 'Brianganas' of 1971 who lost their sanctity.
Later, a colourful cultural programme was organised on the Chancery premises, where the expatriate community as well as members of family of the officials of the Embassy enthusiastically took part.
The artists presented patriotic songs, traditional folk dance and poems commemorating the Victory Day and the spirit of Liberation War.
A young band of Bangla music named Trimatrik rendered a touching musical presentation at the end.
Dhaka, Dec 17 (UNB) – Japan has reiterated its continued support for the safe and voluntary return and resettlement of Rohingyas to their place of origin in Rakhine state of Myanmar.
Japan also highly commended Bangladesh’s humanitarian support to the displaced Myanmar nationals.
The issue came up for discussions at the second Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) between Bangladesh and Japan held in Tokyo on Monday. The first FOC was held in Dhaka on February 2015.
Japan will further promote the Japan-Bangladesh comprehensive partnership and continue to fully support Bangladesh's development on all fronts so that the country can attain the status of a middle-income country by 2021, said Senior Deputy Minister of at Japanese Foreign Ministry Kazuyuki Yamazaki.
Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque is leading a 10-member delegation to Japan for the Foreign Secretary level dialogue.
Bangladesh Ambassador to Japan Rabab Fatima, and representatives from other ministries were also present during the discussion, according to the Foreign Ministry here.
The FOC reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations and took stock of the implementation status of decisions taken in the past at different levels of the two governments.
Consensus was reached to strengthen economic and commercial relations, and to explore new areas of cooperation.
The Foreign Secretary expressed hope that Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt (Big-B) Initiative will accelerate cooperation for the development of quality infrastructure and the investment environment in Bangladesh and will strengthen regional connectivity.
He urged Japan’s support to set up skills and Japanese language training center in Bangladesh to train potential Bangladeshi workers for recruitment in highly skilled and less skilled sectors under Japan’s newly adopted immigration law.
Foreign Secretary Haque requested Japan to foster greater friendship and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
Defining Bangladesh’s plan to develop inclusive and people-centric blue economy, he called for Japanese assistance and collaboration in deep sea fishing and ocean resource mapping.
On the sidelines of the FOC, Foreign Secretary Haque paid a courtesy call on State Minister of Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan Ichiro Tsukada at his office and discussed issues of mutual interest.
Tsukada is also Secretary General of Bangladesh-Japan Parliamentary Friendship (JBPFL) which works to enhance and strengthen cooperation between parliamentarians of the two countries.
Haque also met Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobukatsu Kanehara at Prime Minister’s Office and discussed bilateral, regional and strategic issues.