A network of 50 local and national NGOs has demanded effective participation of local government bodies, especially the Union Parishads of Cox's Bazar in dealing with the Rohingya refugees living in the district.
The call came on Thursday at a virtual seminar organised by the Cox’s Bazar CSO NGO Forum on the occasion of World Humanitarian Day.
Speakers at the seminar said that involvement of local organizations and people's representatives is essential in formulating programmes to help the Rohingyas.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Co-Chair and Executive Director of COAST Foundation, and Abu Murshed Chowdhury, Co-Chair and Executive Director of PHALS moderated the seminar titled ‘World Humanitarian Day: Localization and Local Government.’
Local government expert Dr. Tofail Ahmed, Hnila Union Parishad Chairman Rashed Mahmud Ali, Palangkhali Union Parishad Panel Chairman Nurul Absar, Hnila Union Parishad Member Morzina Akter, Rajapalang Union Parishad Member Helal Uddin, Executive Director of YPSA Md. Arifur Rahman, Chief Executive Officer of Jago Nari Sangstha Sheuli Sharma also spoke at the meeting.
The keynote presentation of the seminar was presented by Md.Mujibul Haque Munir of COAST Foundation.
Mujibul mentioned that when the Rohingyas took shelter in Cox's Bazar, the local people's representatives, especially the local union council chairmen and members, stood by them along with the local people. Being closest to the people, they understand the needs of the people best. Therefore, the participation of local government and local people's representatives is essential in all areas of Rohingya crisis management.
Dr. Tofail said that Union Parishads can play a direct and strong role in any disaster or humanitarian crisis, but we still have some structural weaknesses in the Union Parishads. Some changes in the national policy framework are needed to overcome this weakness. With the help of policy, the local body can play an effective and sustainable role in any disaster.
Hnila Union Parishad member Morzina Akhter said local representatives can play an active role in management of the refugees.
Palangkhali Union Parishad panel chairman Nurul Absar said, a Joint Need Assessment to be conducted with the participation of local people's representatives before taking any action.
Rashed Mahmud Ali, chairman of Hnila Union Parishad, said that, Rohingya management can only be appropriate and effective if everyone works together.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury said, effective localization of humanitarian and development assistance to Rohingya management must be ensured.