Rights activists for Saarc charter on free movement of climate migrants

16 November 2014

UNB, Dhaka :
Rights activists here urged the South Asian leaders to draw up a charter on free movement of climate-induced migrants under a Saarc mechanism.  They made the call on Saturday at a press conference held at the Jatiya Press Club in the capital.
Peoples' Saarc Bangladesh Process, a civil society organisation, arranged the press conference ahead of the 18th Saarc Summit, which is scheduled to be held in Kathmandu on November 26-28.  Speaking at the press conference, Bangladesh Poribesh Andoloan (Bapa) general secretary Abdul Matin said Saarc leaders should explore appropriate options to resolve the long pending water issues.  He said connectivity of the trans-boundary rivers will facilitate the regional navigation among Saarc countries, particularly between Bangladesh and India.
Reading out a written statement on behalf of the group, Monju Rani Pramanik of Shusanoer Jonno Procharavizan (SUPRO) said the Saarc nations should ensure effective cooperation in the agriculture sector since it is the lifeline of the economy of the region.  He suggested developing common water management strategies, particularly connectivity among Bangladesh, India, Nepal and even China, to promote agriculture and hydro-power development for benefiting the member countries with equity and justice.  Giving emphasis on the implementation of Dhaka and Thimphu declarations on climate change, Monju said this is a serious issue for all the Saarc member countries.
He also recommended exploring appropriate strategies to promote cross boarder peace, security and employment.
Mostafa Kamal Akhanda of EquityBD, Rashid E Mahbub of People's Saarc Bangladesh Group, Zakir Hossain of Nagarik Udyag and Sahanaz Sumi of Bangladesh Nari Progoti Sangha (BNPS), among others, spoke at the press conference.

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