Panelists on Youth Policy Forum (YPF)'s inaugural Rohingya advocacy programme, asserted the importance of a global collective effort to bring into light the ongoing Rohingya crisis and ultimately taking concrete steps to ensure safe passage back to Myanmar for the displaced and persecuted Rohingyas.
The Global Cooperation Panel held Saturday was the inaugural web event of a year-long citizen-led diplomacy program created by YPF, said apress release.
The panelists included Dr Mushfiq Mobarak, professor at the Yale School of Management; Stephen Kinnock, member of parliament in the House of Commons, UK; Barrister Shah Ali Farhad, special assistant to the prime minister of Bangladesh and Steven Corliss, country representative of UNHCR - representing various stakeholders who are all involved in solving the Rohingya Crisis.
Youth Policy Forum, based on their founding principles of democratizing pressing policy discussions among the youth, have taken the initiative to connect students, student organizations, institutions, and other stakeholders who can create a global effort in ensuring the Rohingyas are given back the basic human rights that have been stripped off from them, the press release added.
The event was the first among YPF's Rohingya advocacy initiative and the organisation looks to move forward by capitalizing on its over 9000 members from 9 different countries.
In the web event, Professor Mushfiq Mobarak presented some stunning new evidence on Rohingya crisis and the systematic displacement. He provided a strong data-backed rebuttal of the Myanmar government's claim of the crisis as accidental, by highlighting the strong economic motivation of "textbook example of ethnic cleansing".
Professor Mobarak showed that when rice prices go up, violence on Rohingyas increase and it is markedly different from other instances of ethnic cleansing both inside Myanmar and outside.
All the panelists echoed the international consensus of Bangladesh's remarkable contribution to housing the displaced Rohingyas.
Steven Corliss of UNHCR called Bangladesh a "humanitarian superpower".
"It was the poorest of the poor Bangladeshis who first helped the Rohingya people. It was a tremendous display of humanity that must be recognised," he added.
The panelists also agreed on the need for international pressure on Myanmar to hold them accountable for their actions and give back the Rohingyas their rights as citizens of the country.
"The international community must take steps to ensure they are serious about being strict to protect the Rohingya refugees, and pressure Myanmar so they understand it cannot be business as usual unless this issue is solved," Barrister Shah Ali Farhad noted.
In delineating concrete actions, the world leaders can take, Stephen Kinnock, MP agreed that economic sanctions on Myanmar can be added to the ongoing sanctions by the UK on selected military personnel.
"We cannot sacrifice the Rohingya people on the altar for expediency for democratic transition in Myanmar. This is not a democratic transition and the government should not support this," the shadow minister asserted.
With the aid of Professor Mobarak's novel empirical evidence of a systematic displacement orchestrated by the Myanmar government, the panelists agreed that the time is now to put concerted international pressure on Myanmar.
The panelists also lauded YPF's international advocacy initiative on this crisis.
"I would like to congratulate the Youth Policy Forum for the work they are doing. The international community is not doing enough (regarding Rohingya crisis)," said Stephen Kinnock, MP.