State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam on Thursday sought “proactive and meaningful” role of the international community for a sustainable solution to the prolonged Rohingya crisis through their repatriation to Myanmar.
“We need proactive and meaningful role of the international community,” he said adding that Bangladesh is hosting more than a million forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals, commonly known as Rohingyas, who fled en masse, the atrocity and persecution at the hands of their own people in Myanmar.
The State Minister made the remarks at the Mujib Borsho Webinar Series 3 on “Bettering Human Mobility for Better Interconnecting Economies” organised by Bangladesh Embassy, Amman, Jordan.
Bangladesh is currently hosting more than 1.1 million Rohingyas. The majority of them came here since August 2017 after Myanmar military launched a brutal offensive targeting the mainly-Muslim ethnic minority.
Myanmar denies the Rohingyas citizenship despite having lived in the country for generations. They are denied basic rights and many of them are forced to live in squalid camps in apartheid-like condition.
Bangladesh has been pushing for the repatriation of the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals for years now. Dhaka and Naypyitaw even signed deals for Rohingya repatriation but there has been very little progress.
Dhaka has recently developed the river island of Bhasan Char, located 34 kilometers from the mainland, and plans to relocate 100,000 Rohingyas there in phases.
Bangladesh has been urging the global community to take effective steps for their repatriation. Foreign Minister AK Momen said the presence of this huge number of Rohingyas in Bangladesh will pose a serious national as well as regional security threat.
Emphasis on safe, regular and orderly migration
On migrants, the State Minister said considering the necessities and the benefits migrants bring, they should take all measures keeping the ultimate interest of the migrants at the centre of all of our activities.
“Of late, we’ve witnessed increase in forced migration and displacements taking place for reasons like climate change, sudden natural disasters and forced displacement,” he said.
Shahriar said they have the first-hand experience of all these types and a good of people is regularly displaced due to erratic climate change every year.
“We need effective and proactive support from the international community to manage this huge displacement,” he said.
Shahriar said there has to be a strong partnership and cooperation between countries of origin and countries of destination with active participation of UN agencies to materialise safe, regular and orderly migration as stipulated in the Global Compact for Migration (GCM).
The Compact has given an opportunity for all stakeholders to streamline the management of migration for the benefit of all, he said.
“Bangladesh being the proponent of the concept is keen in fostering partnership for realising safe, regular and orderly migration for the benefits and wellbeing of people on the move – be it as labour migration, or mobility for other reasons. We believe, mobility brings economic development – for people on the move, for countries of origin, for countries of destination and for business and global economy,” Shahriar said.
Bangladesh prioritises migrants’ welfare
There is a misperception that expatriates or migrants bring only problems, he said.
But in contrast, they bring mobility and profit for business, industries, agriculture, health sector – even in education sector of countries of destination, Shahriar said adding that they even bring Nobel prize!
Currently, about 10 million Bangladeshis are living outside the border of Bangladesh.
“Hence, our government gives highest priorities to the welfare and improvement of the status of Bangladeshi migrants both in Bangladesh and in the countries of destinations,” he said.
As a strong proponent of global migration governance, Shahriar said, Bangladesh places high importance for putting in place a comprehensive framework for the safe, orderly and regular human mobility through the implementation of GCM.
“We’ve adopted a ‘whole of the society’ approach so that we may protect the migrants starting from recruitment to the eventual return to Bangladesh through public-private partnerships. Our awareness raising programmes are aimed at achieving that end. UN agencies and civil society partnership plays a strong role in it,” he said.
Nahida Sobhan, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Jordan, moderated the webinar.
Dr Yousef Abdel Fattah, General Surgeon in Amman, Ahsan Ul Haque Helal, Country Director, MEDA, Jordan, Dina Jack Khayyat, Vice Chairman of Jordan Garment Accessories and Textiles Export Associations (JGATE) sent video messages.
Shabarinath Nair, Regional Labour Migration Specialist, South Asia, ILO, Tajma Kurt, Chief of Mission, IOM, Jordan, FM Borhan Uddin, Director General, West Asia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, Secretary, Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, Farouk Al-Hadidi, Secretary General, Ministry of Labour, Jordan and Mohammad Moniruzzaman, First secretary (Labour), Bangladesh Embassy, Jordan also joined.