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CPA meeting must bring pressure on Myanmar to take back Rohingyas

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THE two-day Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) opens in the city yesterday at a time when Bangladesh is facing the exodus of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar's Rakhine State There are many routine items for discussion in this conference by the parliamentarians. More than 550 delegates from 144 National and Provincial parliaments of 44 countries out of 52 CPA members are attending the conference.

But we must say the single most important issue in this conference for Bangladesh is the Rohingya crisis and we know Bangladesh will place the issue for seriously taking stock of the humanitarian crisis resulting from the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar military. We believe the participants will not hold just empty talks but seriously look into whether a country can strip its nationals the citizenship and oust them from their homeland which was once an independent Arakan State before Burmese warlords occupied it over two and a half century ago.

The occupation power is now expelling the original owner of the land and the world is witnessing it without seriously coming to their help mobilizing action how to save these people from being permanently stateless. No country, no parliamentarian having honest commitment to human rights and international law can tolerate such brutalities that include mass killing, rape of women and torching of Rohingya villages. We must say the conference must take serious resolution and plan of action to force Myanmar to stop the genocide, give back citizenship to the Rohingyas and take back them to their abandoned homes.

We would also call upon the government to take the CPA participants to refugee camps to see for themselves the Rohingya exodus and the miserable conditions that they are exposed to life in overcrowded camps. Parliamentarians must understand that it is a big international crisis and humanitarian problem beyond the ability of a small and resource scarce country like Bangladesh to handle. We can't give shelter to so many people and feed them.  They are already outnumbering the locals in the area and joining in crimes and creating local tension. This is a new challenge as it threatens the breakdown of law and order.  So the CPA meeting must make the real contribution to create the world opinion against the Myanmar atrocities and bring pressure on Myanmar to end the genocide.

The Rohingya issue also came up for discussion in the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference at St Petersburg in Russia two weeks ago. But it fell short of any strong resolution to force Myanmar government to end the crisis. The situation has flared up to such a level now that Myanmar will not pay heed to any call until it achieves its final solution of Rohingya problem. We want that the world must positively and quickly respond to save these people. Seeing a crime happening is also a crime and the international community can't avoid the responsibility in this regard. We hope the CPA conference realise the gravity of the situation in this meeting.

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