Act now to solve Rohingya crisis
Lawmakers from Commonwealth countries have called upon the international community to take urgent action to resolve the Rohingya crisis.
The call was made at the 63rd general assembly of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in the capital yesterday.
In a statement, the CPA condemned the atrocities, ethnic cleansing, displacement and all gross violations of human rights in the Rakhine State of Myanmar.
It asked the Myanmar government to stop violence and ethnic cleansing in Rakhine immediately and unconditionally.
The CPA, a platform of 52 countries, however, could not adopt any resolution on the Rohingya issue despite a strong demand from most of its member states.
Talking to journalists at her office at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban, CPA Chairperson Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, also Speaker of the JS, said no resolution on the issue could be adopted due to the CPA's constitutional limitations.
According to the CPA constitution, in order to adopt a resolution on any issue, a notice has to be sent to the CPA Secretariat in London 60 days before the annual conference.
Earlier at a briefing session on November 5, CPA delegates criticised Myanmar for persecution of the Rohingyas and demanded that the association adopt a resolution on the issue.
At the session, the CPA chairperson and its Secretary General Akbar Khan had assured them that the demand would be considered seriously.
The eight-day annual conference of the CPA began on November 1 with more than 550 delegates from 144 national and provincial parliaments of 44 countries. It ends today.
In yesterday's statement, the CPA urged Myanmar to ensure the sustainable return of all forcibly displaced Rohingyas, who have taken shelter in Bangladesh and other countries, to their homes in Myanmar within the shortest possible time.
"The members of the parliaments of the Commonwealth countries may unequivocally condemn the atrocities committed against the Rohingyas in Myanmar which amounts to genocide."
The Rohingya issue must be addressed in the light of the recommendations made by the Kofi Annan Commission, it noted.
More than six lakh Rohingyas have taken refuge in Bangladesh since the Myanmar military launched a brutal crackdown on the Rohingyas in Rakhine on August 25.
The lawmakers from Commonwealth countries lauded the Bangladesh government, particularly Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, for opening the borders to the forcibly displaced Rohingyas and helping around one million distressed Rohingyas with shelter, food, sanitation, water and medical support.
The CPA called upon all its member states to help secure the basic rights of the Rohingyas, extend humanitarian support to them and join the efforts of Bangladesh and the international community towards a sustainable return of the Rohingyas to their homeland.
The lawmakers requested the CPA secretary general to convey the statement to all the parliaments of the CPA member states, the United Nations secretary-general, and relevant international and regional organisations.
The CPA also urged the Commonwealth Parliament and its lawmakers to keep watch on the developments in Myanmar and inform the CPA secretary general for raising the matters at the next conference in Mauritius in 2018.
NEW CPA CHAIRPERSON
Emilia Monjowa Lifaka, deputy speaker of the national assembly of Cameroon, was elected chairperson for the next three years.
Two other candidates for the position were -- Shirley M Osborne MLA, speaker of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly; and Niki Rattle, speaker of the Cook Islands Parliament.
CPA member countries elect a new chairperson at the general assembly every three years.