Dhaka, Sept 9 (UNB) – Bangladesh has taken a mixed policy of bilateral and multilateral approach to resolve the Rohingya crisis and it appears to be successful, said Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque.
“Bangladesh wants to settle it bilaterally with international support. We’ve taken a bilateral and multilateral mixed policy. You’ve seen – this is successful (approach),” he said.
The Foreign Secretary was talking to reporters after the first ever Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) between the Foreign Secretaries of Bangladesh and Brunei that held at the State guesthouse Meghna in the city.
He referred to Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali’s recent remark on Rohingya repatriation and said the repatriation process has already started.
Minister Ali, earlier, expressed hope that Rohingya repatriation will begin soon with the return of over 3,000 Rohingyas—though no specific date has been set to begin the process.
"We are thinking of beginning repatriation of the first batch soon. I cannot tell you the date at this moment. Clearance for over 3000 (Rohingya names) has been given. Let's see," he told reporters on Wednesday.
Foreign Secretary Haque also referred to the report of the UN fact finding mission on Myanmar and the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) saying it has jurisdiction over deportations of Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh as a possible crime against humanity. “Bangladesh played a leading role in this regard.”
Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque led the Bangladesh delegation while Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Hajah Siti Norishan Haji Abdul Ghafor led the Brunei side.
Bangladesh and Brunei expressed concern on the plight of the Rohingya and stressed on a peaceful and durable resolution of the crisis, according to Foreign Ministry here.
Bangladesh briefed Brunei on humanitarian assistance and repatriation initiatives for 1.1 million forcibly displaced Rohingya, temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh.
Brunei appreciated Bangladesh’s humanitarian gesture, generous assistance, efforts towards safe, dignified, voluntary, and sustainable repatriation of the Rohingya.
Bangladesh also appreciated Brunei’s humanitarian assistance for the Rohingya.
Dhaka, Sept 9 (UNB) - Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali on Sunday said Rohingyas are a composite group of Myanmar people, and Bangladesh wants to send these forcibly displaced people to their homeland in safe and secure manner.
He said Bangladesh is currently hosting about 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims who have been subject to violence and severe atrocity in the Rakhaine State of Myanmar.
The issue came up for discussions at a meeting with Foreign Minister of Estonia Sven Mikser held at the State guesthouse Padma in afternoon.
Minister Ali informed Mikser of his recent visit to Rakhaine to see the essential conditions for safe and secure repatriation of these persecuted people.
Foreign Minister Mikser highly appreciated the great hospitality extended by the government of Bangladesh to give shelter to these Rohingyas and expressed solidarity with Bangladesh on their safe and secure repatriation.
Minister Ali reaffirmed Bangladesh’s support for Estonia’s bid to the non-permanent seat of the UN Security Council and wished Estonia success in its efforts.
He hoped that the two countries would be able to work on multifarious issues of global concern under the UN auspices and its reform process as well.
Foreign Minister Mikser, accompanied by the senior officials of his Ministry, is now on a three-day visit.
The visit of the Estonian Foreign Minister is the first high-level visit taking place between the two countries, according to the Foreign Ministry here.
Both the Foreign Ministers held cordial discussions on various aspects of bilateral ties as well as important regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.
Minister Mikser expressed happiness for visiting Bangladesh and hoped that this will consolidate the bilateral relations between the two countries.
He informed Foreign Minister Ali of the capacity and expertise Estonia has achieved and can offer, particularly in the IT and ICT sector.
Mikser said Estonia is the most digitally connected country in the world and their government has implemented e-government system in every sector, including education, banking, security, land management, taxation and healthcare.
He offered sharing of Estonian expertise in e-governance and digitalisation both with the government and private sectors, and expressed interest in market development in the digital sector of Bangladesh.
On international and regional cooperation, Mikser expressed gratitude for Bangladesh’s support towards Estonia’s maiden bid for the non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
He hoped that the two countries would continue to enhance cooperation and contacts on issues of mutual interest.
Mikser noted that Bangladesh is an active member and a significant contributor to the UN system and praised Bangladesh’s role in global peacekeeping through UN missions.
Foreign Minister Ali officially welcomed his Estonian counterpart and noted that he was happy the way the relationship between Bangladesh and Estonia was unfolding.
He expressed confidence that Bangladesh and Estonia would work closely on issues of mutual interest bilaterally as well as the issues of global concern such as climate change, human rights, global security, peaceful resolution of conflicts, poverty alleviation and women empowerment.
Mahmood Ali welcomed the Estonian offer to share their expertise in e-governance and digital market place and welcomed the Estonian entrepreneurs and investors for digitalisation process and digital market development in Bangladesh.
Earlier, the Foreign Minister of Estonia met Minister for Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology and he met Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury at her high office in the afternoon.
Dhaka, Sept 9 (UNB) - British Council Bangladesh under the banner of Bangladesh UK Alumni Network (BUKAN) will host a workshop titled 'Entrepreneurship Vista' September 29 in the city.
To bring betterment into the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Bangladesh, communication firm Ra'diaInc has initiated the half-day workshop to be held at British Council Dhaka's auditorium.
The 'Entrepreneurship Vista' will be a hub of aspiring entrepreneurs where the participants will get sufficient knowledge and an experience-sharing platform from the domain experts and entrepreneurs, said a press release on Sunday.
Some 100 participants will be selected through a scrutiny process based on inclusivity, diversity and empathy between the ages of 20 to 35.
The workshop will give an emphasis on how social-driven entrepreneurial idea can be instrumental towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) alongside female participation.
Last date of online registration is September 19 and details about the event can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/927687090772650/
Dhaka, Sept 9 (UNB) - United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng has urged ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to consider the recommendation of its Chamber to decide on the opening of an investigation into the atrocities against Rohingyas without delay.
He said the decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) provides victims an opportunity to access justice for some of the crimes they have endured, which is an important first step.
Myanmar has refused to cooperate with any impartial investigation into the matter and continues to insist hiding behind its sovereign borders, he said in a statement.
"It is about time that countries understand that borders are not strong enough to protect those involved in the most horrible crimes committed against human beings from prosecution," reads the statement a copy of which UNB obtained.
He welcomed the decision issued on Thursday by the International Criminal Court (ICC), Pre-Trial Chamber I, in which it concluded that the Court has jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh.
Adama Dieng said deportation can constitute a crime against humanity under international law.
The Chamber also ruled that the Court would have jurisdiction over other crimes committed, such as the crime of persecution, if at least one element of the crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court - or part of such a crime - has been committed on the territory of a State Party to the Statute.
“This decision is a light in what has been a very dark episode for the Rohingya people this past year,” said the Special Adviser.
The decision followed a request by the Prosecutor of the ICC on 9 April 2018, in which she sought a ruling from the Pre-Trial Chamber on the jurisdiction of the Court in a situation in which persons are deported from the territory of a State which is not party to the Rome Statute of the ICC into the territory of a State which is a party to the Statute.
While Myanmar is not a party to the Statute, Bangladesh is.
Accordingly, the decision opens the door to the prosecution of some of the crimes that may have been committed against the Rohingya.
“The crimes allegedly committed or initiated in Myanmar against the Rohingya population, particularly since August 2017, which led to the mass displacement of almost a million Rohingya people into Bangladesh, are horrific and must not go unpunished,” insisted the Special Adviser.
“We have all heard the shocking reports of mass killings, the gang rape of women, of babies being thrown into fires, and the complete destruction of villages. The failure of the Security Council to refer the situation to the ICC for investigation, despite credible information to support these allegations and numerous calls for accountability, has been frustrating, to say the least”.
The Special Adviser also noted that while the decision is a breakthrough, alleged crimes perpetrated solely on the territory of Myanmar, including conduct that could possibly amount to the crime of genocide, will be excluded from the jurisdiction of the ICC.
For that reason, the Special Adviser urged the international community to continue its efforts to bring justice to the Rohingya people.
Barishal, Sept 8 (UNB) – Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said Bangladesh and India share the historical legacy of fighting and winning the Liberation War together in 1971 wherein armies from both the nations fought and defeated a common enemy.
“We recognise and honour the contributions and sacrifices of the Muktijoddhas (freedom fighters),” he said while addressing Muktijoddha Scholarship cheque distribution ceremony at Sher-e-Bangla Medical College here.
The High Commissioner said freedom fighters have been their lasting friends and they appreciate the role freedom fighters play in keeping the Liberation War spirit alive.
“These are eternal bonds, permanently cemented by the blood and sacrifices of our martyrs. I pay my tributes to the martyrs of both countries who have laid down their lives during the independence struggle,” Shringla said.
He said the recipients of the scholarship scheme are the future of Bangladesh. “You should be very proud to have been born in the family of Muktijoddhas and have inherited their legacy.”
He said it is a unique honour but carries with itself the onus of carrying forward their legacy and spirit into the future. “I’m also sure you all will evolve to be the goodwill ambassadors between the future generations of both the countries.”
Mayor-elect, Barishal City Corporation Serniabat Sadiq Abdullah, Sector Commander (Sector 9 during Liberation War) Captain Mahfuz Alam Beg, Chairman, Muktijoddha Academy Trust Dr Abul Azad, Members of Parliament, senior freedom fighters were present.
The High Commissioner said Bangladesh and India share a common heritage, cultural linkage and have shed blood together on the battlefield.
The Muktijoddha scholarship scheme is one such initiative launched in 2006. Under the scheme, over 12,621 students have already been awarded scholarship and an amount of Tk 21 crore has been utilised.
The Nutan Muktijoddha scholarship scheme was introduced in 2017. Under the scheme, 10,000 students will be awarded scholarships in Undergraduate and Higher Secondary streams over the next five years and an amount of Tk 35 crore will be utilised for the purpose. Once the old and new schemes are combined, a total of Tk 56 crore will be spent by the government of India for the Muktijoddha scholarship programme.
Some 120 students of Barishal division were handed over scholarship cheques. Students in undergraduate category were awarded a lump sum amount of Tk 50,000 and in the Higher Secondary category Tk 20,000 respectively.