Monday, May 20, 2019 03:41:41 AM
The UK parliament has had a lengthy discussion on the Rohingya crisis which Minister for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field calls a 'global humanitarian catastrophe' and not just a Muslim issue.
British shadow Minister for International Development Roberta Blackman-Woods, who recently visited Bangladesh and Rohingya camps, moved the motion with Ian Paisley in the chair.
Over 20 MPs took part in the discussion at the House of Commons on Tuesday, according to Hansard Online, which says it puts in a substantially verbatim report of what is said in parliament.
Roberta attended the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference in Dhaka as a member of the British delegation. In her opening remarks, Roberta said, "Although stories about the crisis are similar, my visit brought home the vastness of the camps."
"The UNHCR's head of emergency planning told our group of parliamentarians that the camps needed to house the new refugees are the equivalent of a city larger than Manchester and these are being established almost overnight," she told the MPs.
"And it was built with no infrastructure, housing, water, sanitation or any of the tools needed for self-subsistence," she quoted the UNHCR emergency chief.
The International Rescue Committee estimates that nearly 300,000 people need food security assistance and more than 400,000 people need healthcare, Roberta said.
Only a fraction of the 453,000 Rohingya children at camps receives education. The young people they met were desperate for education-particularly higher education, the shadow minister continued.
Another MP, Philip Hollobone, said, "It is ethnic cleansing, pure and simple, and must be 100% condemned through all diplomatic channels available to us."
"I appreciate the sensitivities of the nascent democracy in Burma, but we must make it clear that the generals are responsible for this ethnic cleansing and that the international community will not put up with it."
"When it comes to the potential return of Rohingya refugees, returning stateless people to remain stateless in their country of origin is not good enough. These people require their nationhood to be given to them."
He also said Britain must stimulate further contributions from other countries, particularly Muslim countries, because 'we are dealing with a Muslim population', and "there are lots of rich Muslim countries in the world that, frankly, should be stepping up to the plate rather more".
A family of Rohingya refugees at the makeshift camp on Balukhali Hill in Cox's Bazar's Ukhia. Photo: mostafigur rahman
Taking the floor, Mark Field said, "It would be very dangerous for this to be seen as only a Muslim issue.
"It is a global humanitarian catastrophe, and while I accept what he says - that we want to see all nations contributing - to try to frame it in an ethnic way would be the wrong way forward."
Rushanara Ali, a Bangladesh-origin Labour MP, asked the minister whether they will be pursuing an independent security presence to protect the Rohingyas.
"Because otherwise, we are expecting the perpetrators of ethnic cleansing to be the ones managing this process?"
"Absolutely," Mark Field said in reply. "We will. I am also wary of the idea of having a long-term presence there, rather like what has happened in the Middle East where one has an unsustainable position for the longer term."
"But in the short term, we need to have an independent international presence to police this matter."
He also said the UK government concluded that the inexcusable violence perpetrated on the Rohingya by the Burmese military and ethnic Rakhine militia appears to be ethnic cleansing - or is ethnic cleansing.
The UK has been leading the international response diplomatically, politically and regarding humanitarian support.
Rushanara expressed concern over the supposed agreement between the Bangladeshis and the Burmese as what she terms 'is deeply problematic", given the state of camps in Rakhine and the way the Rohingya are being treated.
AFP, Doha :The organisers of the 2022 Qatar World Cup said on Saturday that "there will be no decision imposed" on the country to extend the tournament to 48 teams.Anticipation is mounting ahead of the final decision, due to be announced in Paris at the beginning of June, whether to ...
THE National River Conservation Commission has warned a dozen of government officials for their inaction to free the River Meghna from grabbers and take action within seven days. The Commission had earlier directed the authorities to take action against the grabbers but nothing had happened. Frustrated, the Commission on May ...
Reuters, Vatican City :Pope Francis paid tribute on Saturday to journalists killed while doing their jobs, saying media freedom is a key indicator of a country's health.In an address to the Foreign Press Association in Italy, he urged journalists to shun fake news and continue reporting on the plight of ...
AFP, Ankara :Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said Turkey and Russia would jointly produce S-500 defence systems after Ankara's controversial purchase of the S-400 missile defence system from Moscow.Turkey's push to buy the S-400s has further strained already tense relations with the United States which has repeatedly warned ...
Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Viewers’ choice popular pair of the small screen of present time Afran Nisho and Mehazabien Chowdhury worked together for an Eid telefilm titled Sheshta Sundor directed by Mizanur Rahman Aryan. They earlier worked together under same director’s last year’s Eid telefilm titled Buker Ba Pashey. Therefore, the ...
Bangladesh got a timely boost ahead of the World Cup journey, as they ended the final jinx, whacking West Indies past by five wickets, a victory that captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza cited as 'confidence booster' to chase any kind of total.Having set a 210 runs to victory in 24 overs ...
THE New York-based Human Rights Watch on Friday slammed Bangladesh authorities following the recent arrests of some dignified persons under much-debated Digital Security Act. The HRW pointed finger about the raising worries among the common people over the freedom of speech and freedom of expression. According to media reports, poet ...
AFP, Caracas : President Nicolas Maduro welcomed Friday the "beginning of talks" with the Venezuelan opposition in Norway, after months of bloody clashes between the two sides. "The talks have begun nicely to move toward agreements of peace, agreement and harmony, and I ask for the support of all Venezuelan people to ...
AP, Canberra :The vote count in Australia's general election on Saturday was proving closer than opinion polls had predicted, with the ruling conservative coalition appearing more likely to form a government than the favored center-left opposition party.Opposition Labor Party deputy leader Tanya Plibersek had said in early counting that she ...
Last week, a fire on the sets of Amitabh Bachchan and Chiranjeevi starrer Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy erupted, However, no one was hurt during it. But seems like another tragedy has struck the sets of the film. This week a 38-year-old Russian actor named Alexander died on set due to ...
BANGLADESH Foreign Minister on Thursday stressed the need for strong support of China for resolving the prolonged Rohingya crisis with early repatriation of the displaced people. China's strong support would be necessary so that 'Myanmar moves in the right direction for resolving the Rohingya crisis,' the Minister told Chinese ambassador ...