Bangladesh has sought stronger support and cooperation from ASEAN nations for safe and sustainable return of the Rohingya to Myanmar and reintegration with their society.
“Bangladesh is keen to resolve this problem peacefully and with good neighbourly spirit. If left unresolved, the crisis has the potential to destabilize the entire region,” said Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, MP, while addressing ASEAN Day celebration at the Thai embassy in Dhaka today.
The ASEAN Dhaka Committee organised the ASEAN Flag Raising Ceremony followed by the ASEAN Food Festival on the occasion.
Nurul Majid said the 1.1 million Rohingya living in Bangladesh created various challenges for Bangladesh, including in economy, ecology as well as society.
“So, we solicit support and cooperation from ASEAN friends and partners for solving the crisis,” the minister said.
He also raised the challenges including degradation of marine environment, trafficking of illicit drugs and arms, robbery in the sea, illegal fishing, cyber crimes and human trafficking.
“We call upon ASEAN community to increase cooperation in responding to these emerging threats and stress the need to address these challenges in a holistic and comprehensive manner,” Nurul Majid said, addressing as chief guest of the event.
He said Bangladesh would also continue its efforts in coordination with ASEAN friends to mobilise domestic and international resources to address the challenges of climate change and secure a green and safe planet.
He said Bangladesh remains committed to the enduring values and lofty ideals of ASEAN through partnership with ASEAN states. Bangladesh desires to become a “sectoral dialogue partner” of ASEAN, he added.
In her remarks as ASEAN Chair, Thai Ambassador Arunrung Phothong Humphreys highlighted the unity of ASEAN and the people-centred community, which leaves no-one behind and remains future-focused for the benefits of succeeding generations.
This aspect is captured in Thailand ASEAN Chairmanship theme of “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”, she said.
Humphreys said ASEAN wants to work together with Bangladesh to promote regional peace and sustainable development.
ASEAN Dhaka Committee Chair William Chik, consul of Singapore, said in 52 years ASEAN has been able to enhance unique cooperation among its members. The regional forum also developed more people to people contact over the years.
“We hope to continue stronger cooperation,” he said.
Haji Haris Bin Haji Othman, high commissioner of Brunei Darussalam; Rina P. Soemarno, ambassador of Indonesia; Lwin Oo, ambassador of Myanmar; Vicente Vivencio T. Bandillo, ambassador of the Philippines; Tran Van Khoa, ambassador of Viet Nam; and Amir Farid Abu Hasan, acting high commissioner of Malaysia were also present.