Bangladesh needs to be more assertive while dealing with Myanmar over the Rohingya issue, as the government has a five-year mandate, said an international affairs expert yesterday.
“The body language must change when we’re negotiating with Myanmar. This is very important,” said Prof Imtiaz Ahmed of Dhaka University’s (DU) International Relations department, saying Myanmar is the country responsible for genocide.
He was addressing a seminar titled “Rohingya Crisis: International Role for Tangible Solutions in Rakhine”, organised by Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) in the capital.
Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, most of who arrived here since August 25, 2017.
Prof Imtiaz, also director at Centre for Genocide Studies at DU, said it would be easier to act on internationalisation of the Rohingya issue in a bigger way now.
“International Criminal Court (ICC) and International Court of Justice (ICJ) should gear up to the maximum, particularly by supporting them with evidence of all kinds,” he said, adding that this is going to put tremendous pressure on Myanmar, particularly when they will come to know that initiatives are in full swing.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam was chief guest at the seminar,
The event was chaired by DCAB President Raheed Ejaz.
Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque, UNHCR Representative in Bangladesh Steven Corliss and DCAB General Secretary Nurul Islam Hasib were also present.
Prof Imtiaz said it is high time for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to visit China and India promoting solutions, stretching from repatriation to formation of safe zones inside Myanmar for Rohingyas.
He said competent teams should visit important capitals around the world to persuade policymakers and other stakeholders regularly and repetitively.
The expert said Bangladesh is not the only country where Rohingyas are living; there are over 19 countries where they reside.
He suggested holding an international conference on Rohingya crisis inviting all 19 countries, including members of the media, human rights organisations, researchers and other civil and political stakeholders.
“This should be done every six months -- one in Bangladesh and one outside Bangladesh,” Prof Imtiaz said, adding that publication and dissemination of reports and visual footage from conferences would add to the knowledge on Rohingyas and put pressure on Myanmar.