The Department of Social Sciences and Humanities (DSSH) at Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) hosted a webinar on observing World Refugee Day 2021 in collaboration with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and in partnership with Sociology Club, Dance Club as well as Anthropology Club from IUB on Thursday.
Ambassador Shahidul Haque, Former Foreign Secretary of the Government of Bangladesh and professional fellow at the South Asian Institute of Policy and Governance in North South University attended the event as the chief guest. Johannes Van Der Klaauw, representative of UNHCR in Bangladesh participated as the special guest, said a press release.
The discussion began with welcoming address by Sharmeen Ahmed, Head of the Department of Social Sciences & Humanities, IUB and the keynote presentation on Rohingya lives in Bangladesh by Obydullah Al Marjuk, Senior Lecturer from the Dept. of Social Sciences & Humanities. Professor Dr. Imtiaz A. Hussain, Head of the Global Studies and Governance program at IUB, UNHCR representative Johannes Van Der Klaauw and Former Foreign Secretary and professional fellow Shahidul Haque discussed from their professional experience and research on refugee crises and its impact both on Bangladesh and on the contemporary geopolitical situation of the world.
Professor Dr. Niaz Ahmed Khan, Pro-Vice Chancellor of IUB also attended the webinar. Lastly, Professor Dr. Taiabur Rahman, Dean, School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (SLASS), IUB delivered his concluding remark and the three clubs of IUB, partnered in this event, showed a documentary film for the audience and performed different cultural activities based on Refugee Day theme.
In his keynote presentation on "Plights of Rohingya Refugees", Obydullah Al Marjuk raised several questions after delineating the five from many aspects from Rohingya plights: identity, discrimination and statelessness, failure of responsibility to protect (R2P), repatriation and relocation, and terrorism and security.
The questions he raised include: how come some humans turn into refugees, is there any refugee in the animal kingdom, can we question the indigenousness of the Rohingyas, can we justify the atrocities and how long will it take for the international community to respond? Then, Professor Dr. Imtiaz Hussain from the Global Studies and Governance program, in his discussion, brought the fact to light that how refugee crisis is not only a human rights violation, but a political issue as well.
Afterwards, Johannes Van Der Klaauw from UNHCR highlighted the facilitation of UNHCR in the healthcare, education and recreation sectors of Rohingya lives in Cox's Bazar, along with the help from the Government of Bangladesh. He discussed that this year's theme for World Refugee Day is to help refugees "to heal, learn and shine" and how their campaign for raising awareness among Rohingya refugees regarding Covid-19 is aligned and timely with this theme.
Followed by him, Ambassador Shahidul Haque put forth the fact that how the international community has gone out of any option regarding a suitable solution or rehabilitation for Rohingyas and how Myanmar has come out as a failed state to mitigate its domestic conflict. He also elucidated that how the geopolitical situation of South and South-east Asia will go unstable if the Rohingya issue is not solved.
Professor Dr. Taiabur Rahman, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences added to the discussion that Rohingya issue, by nature, is not only a refugee crisis but also an environmental one and it is possible that any natural calamity will add more suffering to their lives, which the international community should take into consideration.