Bangladesh is set to initiate a fund mobilisation campaign to support Gambia's legal battle against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the Rohingya crisis as the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries' foreign ministers are due to meet this week in Niger.
Talking to BSS ahead of his Niger tour, Bangladesh foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said Dhaka itself planned to offer financial help to Gambia to fight the case, and ask the OIC countries to stand by the West African nation with financial assistance.
"We will disburse our fund to OIC for supporting Gambia to run the case in the ICJ as they need financial support after appointing lawyer for the case," Momen told BSS today as he is scheduled to join the 47th session of the 57-member OIC's Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) in person in Niger from Nov 27-28.
He said Gambia -- an OIC member as well -- volunteered to move to ICJ with the Rohingya issue and needed financial support to fight the case.
"Dhaka will make a strong plea" in the regard, he said.
Officials familiar with Bangladesh's initiatives said Dhaka by now disbursed a fund to the OIC for supporting the Gambia's case but declined to disclose the amount, saying it would be befitting to announce it during the CFM meeting with its theme being "United against Terrorism for Peace and Development".
OIC General Secretariat set the stage for the meeting in Niger's capital Niamey.
Momen expected the Rohingya crisis to largely dominate CMF's agenda, to add pressure on Myanmar in the "accountability and justice front" and to take back their nationals from Bangladesh.
"The OIC took the Rohingya issue seriously . . . all the OIC members have been supporting us strongly over the issue in the United Nations," he said.
He added that the OIC response to the crisis was visible though being a grouping it might not be a very strong bloc to resolve the issue.
Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar district and most of them arrived there since August 25, 2017 after the military crackdown at their homeland.
COVID AND VACCINE
During the CFM, the foreign minister said that Dhaka would present Bangladesh's success so far, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in containing the coronavirus in a densely populated country like Bangladesh.
Dr Momen said that Bangladesh would advocate for equal distribution of potential Covid-19 vaccine to all countries irrespective of rich and poor.
"Our position is very clear … vaccine should be distributed among all countries without discrimination … no one should be left behind," he said.
The foreign minister said that rights of migrant workers would be another important agenda for Bangladesh at the CFM as rich Middle Eastern OIC member states host huge numbers of expatriate Bangladeshi workers.
"We will express our gratitude to the host countries for providing support to our nationals amid the pandemic," he said referring that Saudi Arabia had extended its aid to irrespective of legal and undocumented Bangladeshi workers there.
The Saudi Arabia has already taken back 86,000 Bangladeshi workers including 34,000 with new employments after the lockdown, he said adding, "It's not an easy task."