The two-day international e-conference titled "Connecting Rohingya Diaspora: Highlighting the Global Displacement" concluded on Wednesday with the '2nd Dhaka Declaration' which was organised by ActionAid Bangladesh in association with the Centre for Genocide Studies, Dhaka University and the Centre for Peace and Justice, BRAC University.
The conference was organised on the occasion of the third anniversary of the massive influx of Rohingya into Bangladesh.
The '2nd Dhaka Declaration' urges the international community to come forward to ensure justice and accountability for the safe, dignified and voluntary repatriation of the Rohingya people in Bangladesh, especially in resolving the Rohingya crisis. Participating states are encouraged to support the steps taken by the ICC / ICJ to ensure justice and accountability for the Rohingya.
The e-conference was attended by experts, researchers, academician, human rights activists and humanitarian workers working on the Rohingya diaspora from 12 countries including Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Masud Bin Momen, Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh, joined the e-conference as the chief guest. Cherno Marenah, Solicitor General and Legal Secretary, Ministry of Justice of the Gambia, joined the e-conference as the guest of honour.
The Foreign Secretary expressed concerns over the possibility of conflict if the crisis prolongs. Despite Bangladesh's willingness to achieve peaceful repatriation of the Rohingya Refugees, Myanmar's disinterest is proving to be a major obstacle. He urged the international community to put pressure on Myanmar to achieve peaceful repatriation of the Rohingya Refugees.
Cherno Marenah said, "In October, Gambia will submit the first memorandum in the case at the International Court of Justice. We are working extremely hard along with international lawyers". He added that the Gambia always takes the lead when it comes to humanitarian crises, and are especially active in the African continent.
The Introductory speech was given by Manzoor Hasan, Executive Director, Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ), BRAC University, while the overall perspective of the conference was presented by Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, Professor, International Relations, Dhaka University and Director, Centre for Genocide Studies (CGS). He said, "The Rohingya issue is not only a bilateral issue between Bangladesh and Myanmar anymore, it has become an international issue. There has been a systematic genocide going on in Myanmar for decades. Even though previously the genocide had not gotten proper coverage, the 2017 events have brought it into the limelight".
Dr Imtiaz urged the International community to unite in order to achieve the peaceful repatriation of the Rohingya Refugees and reformation of the constitution of Myanmar to ensure the rights of the Rohingya Refugees as Myanmar citizens.
After thanking all the present participants in the conference, the Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh, Farah Kabir said, "We don't want the miserable situation of the Rohingyas to prolong. We all know that there was a massive influx of Rohingya Refugees into Bangladesh in 2017. The Rohingya diaspora themselves can play a crucial role in bringing about a change". This situation can be resolved by uniting the Rohingya diaspora around the world.
Divided into a total of four panels, the conference was attended by esteemed panelists including Azeem Ibrahim, director of the Center for Global Policy in Washington DC, KAM Morshed, senior director of BRAC; Nickey Diamond, a human rights specialist at Fortify Rights; And Dr Wakar Uddin, Director General of the Arakan Rohingya Union of North America and Chairman and Founder of the Burmese Rohingya Association.
Azeem Ibrahim in his speech said, "It is not easy for the Rohingya diaspora to go back to their country. Their repatriation is a very complex process. They have been subject to abuse for more than half a century. The Rohingya diaspora have to unite with other minority communities to resolve this issue".
Dr Wakar Uddin said in his speech," to change Myanmar's attitude towards the Rohingya, everyone must come forward, speak in unison and apply pressure at the same time. Only then will it be possible.
On the concluding day of the conference, representatives, teachers and researchers from the Rohingya Diaspora in the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Australia, India, Bangladesh and Malaysia presented their presentations and papers.