24 May 2018, Thu, 1:10

Rohingya crisis, peaceful polls key challenges for Bangladesh: UK MPs

The UK House of Commons has said holding a ‘fair and peaceful’ election and addressing Rohingya crisis will be a crucial test for Bangladesh.

The international development committee of the House of Commons in a report titled ‘Bangladesh, Burma and the Rohingya crisis’ listed four key challenges for Bangladesh and discussed what further assistance the DFID and the UK government can deliver and help orchestrate from the rest of the international community.

Appreciating Bangladesh’s efforts on Rohingya issue, the UK PMs urged the UK government to continue and strengthen its efforts to persuade the international community fully to shoulder and share these responsibilities in line with World Humanitarian Summit commitments to recognise the ‘public good’ that countries who host refugees provide for the world.

The House of Commons is the lower house of parliament of the United Kingdom.

The challenges are “fair and peaceful” conduct of the forthcoming elections and the relaxing the space for debate and criticism between and from all the elements of civil society and tackling the inequalities and fragilities within the overall positive economic outlook to avoid reaching the limits of capacity and perhaps stalling or freezing further improvements for all of Bangladesh.

The third challenge, according to the report released on Wednesday, is maintaining the focus on the inequalities suffered by Bangladeshi women and girls in terms of abuse and sexual violence (inside and outside matrimony), access to a continuing education, child marriage and to uneven earning power and promotion prospects within the economy.

The fourth challenge is the Rohingya crisis but it is most clearly not a challenge for Bangladesh alone, said the report.

The report said Bangladesh needs to be thanked and commended for opening its borders to these refugees fleeing violent persecution in Myanmar. “Bangladesh needs to face up to the requirement for a long-term solution and, the international community should provide the required resources.”

The objective assessment is for just under $1billion per year to meet the needs of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

The international community, with the UK in the lead, should call on the World Bank to come up with one or more funding instruments for use by the international community to provide resources to countries providing a global ‘public good’ by hosting refugees, migrants or displaced persons, the report recommended.

It said Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina, the government, other services, and people and authorities of Cox’s Bazar, must be thanked and commended for the way sanctuary was provided to the Rohingya.

“While in Bangladesh (in March), we heard grave and convincing concerns from many quarters that a substantial proportion of the Rohingya refugees’ accommodation (and services) was extremely vulnerable to the heavy rainfall that the imminent monsoon season would bring. Without decisions and action being taken very quickly to enable relocation to begin-and to facilitate other mitigations-people were going to die,” the report mentioned.