Dhaka – Bangladesh has urged parliamentarians from Commonwealth nations to mount pressure on Myanmar to repatriate hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fled ethnic violence began in late August in Myanmar’s Rakhine state amid a military crackdown.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made the call Sunday as she opened the 63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) at Bangladesh parliament building premises in Dhaka.
She also called Myanmar to stop persecution on minority Muslims in the Buddhist-majority Myanmar as the Rohingya, a stateless group, have long been subjected to repression on their ancestral homes in Rakhine.
An estimated 622,000 Rohingya Muslims crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar army launched crackdown on suspected Muslims insurgents blamed for carrying out attacks of security posts on August 25.
Civilians who crossed the border reported that the Burmese army and their Buddhist cohorts killed Muslims and set their homes to fire indiscriminately. The United Nations called the violence as a “text book case of ethnic cleansing”.
Bangladesh has given temporary shelter to the Rohingya Muslims on humanitarian ground, said Hasina adding that her government follows the ‘friendship to all, malice to none’ foreign policy.
“… inhuman persecution meted out on the Rohingya population in the Rakhine state of Myanmar and their forceful eviction from their homeland have created instability in the region and beyond,” she said.
She called the lawmakers from across the Commonwealth nations to tag utmost importance and exert pressure on the Myanmar government to stop persecution on its citizens.
Bangladesh has been hosting yet another 400,000 Rohingya Muslims ever since they were driven away from their homes in late 1970s and early 1990s.
Hasina also called the Commonwealth countries to get united to curb militancy and terrorism
Referring to the recent terror attack in New York that claimed eight lives, Hasina said militancy is not a problem of a particular country, rather it became a global phenomenon.
Chairperson of CPA and Speaker of Jayita Sangsad of Bangladesh Shirin Sharmin Choudhury gave welcome address while Secretary-General of the CPA Akbar Khan, Commonwealth youth representative Aiman Sadique and treasurer of CPA Vicki Dunn spoke, among others.
Messages from Queen Elizabeth (II), the chief patron of the conference, and Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat Patricia Scotland were read out on the occasion.
The opening of the 63rd CPA Conference was marked by presentation of a number of documentaries on Bangladesh’s history, nature and livelihood of the people.