Ansar Ahmed Ullah
“The international community, including the UN agencies, must work towards meaningfully and vigorously engage with the Government of Myanmar to create an environment that would be conducive to voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return ” said the State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam, MP at the launch of the 2020 Joint Response Plan for Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis, organised by UNHCR, IOM and OCHA in Geneva on 3 March.
The Joint Response Plan is the UN’s effort to engage the international community to meet the humanitarian needs for the Rohingya temporarily residing in Bangladesh for 2020. While delivering statement from the floor, three countries immediately pledged to contribute were USA, European Union and Sweden.
Providing an overview of efforts by Bangladesh Governmentfor ensuring unhindered humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya, State Minister thanked the international community for their continued support for the consecutive Joint Response Plans since 2017. Besides, he underscored that the only durable solution of the prolonged crisis is the safe and voluntary repatriation of the Rohingya to their places of origin. Myanmar authorities have obligation to create conducive environment in Rakhine State for repatriation and the international community including the UN has the responsibility to play a role in this regard. However, the progress toward repatriation still deserves due attention.
The State Minister apprised the audience of the Bangladesh policy to allow education for Rohingya children in Myanmar curriculum and languageto get them prepared for their eventual reintegration into Myanmar society and urged on the international community to actively engage Myanmar to reap the essence of the initiative.
During their interventions of the launching event, the USA, Switzerland, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, the UK, Japan, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Turkey and Ireland, as well as UN and other international organisations (EU, ADB, OCHA, OIC, UNFPA, ILO) highly lauded the continuous support of Bangladesh government including allowing educationin particular and expressed their high appreciation for the government and the people of Bangladesh for the generosity shown to the Rohingyas. They also appreciated the Joint Response Plan formulatedin an inclusive manner by involving the government, civil society and UN agencies in Bangladesh, and reiterated their commitment to continue to support the cause and the implementation of the Joint Response Plan. In their statements, supports was expressed by many delegations for justice and accountability approach and addressing root causes affirming that ultimate solution lies with Myanmar.
In concluding remarks, State Minister called upon international community to put pressure on Myanmar for creating conducive condition in Rakhine for voluntary, safe and dignified return of the Rohingyas.
Ambassador M Shameem Ahsan, Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Geneva, and DG, United Nations Wing, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Samia Anjum were present as the members of the Bangladesh delegation at the launching event.