Rohingya crisis puts economic pressure on BD: ICCB

FE Desk | Published: August 27, 2018 10:11:14 | Updated: September 13, 2018 14:37:48


Rohingya refugees try to grab relief supplies on the street in front of the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh on September 12, 2017. Courtesy: Jesmin Papri/BenarNews

The International Chamber of Commerce-Bangladesh (ICCB) opined that the influx of Rohingya refugees created pressure on economy and overall security of Bangladesh.

"The Rohingya crisis has created a multi-dimensional problem for Bangladesh. "For hosting Rohingyas the economy and environment of Bangladesh have been affected adversely," the chamber observed in the editorial of its current News Bulletin (April-June 2018) released on Sunday.

The editorial pointed out that some 6,000 acres of land have already been deforested for making space for the Rohingya camps and estimated value is equivalent to Tk 7.41 billion (741.31 crore) or US$ 86.67 million.

"Bangladesh deserves all the supports and solidarity from the international community to face the crisis," it added.

The chamber termed the ongoing Rohingya crisis 'the worst man-made disaster' Bangladesh is facing from Myanmar without any war or any conflict.

Quoting the United Nations estimates the chamber mentioned that almost one million Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar's violent campaign of ethnic cleansing while Bangladesh had no option but to give shelter to Rohingyas by opening its border and hosting them.

"The vast majority of Rohingya refugees are women and children including newborn babies and elderly people requiring additional aid and protection,"

"In January, the Government of Myanmar had signed a repatriation agreement with Bangladesh, which continues to host the communities," it continued. "But not a single Rohingya refugee has returned under the formal framework agreed with Bangladesh."

It also pointed out that many of those who have returned home have been detained and so, more Rohingyas continue to seek shelter in Bangladesh.

In this connection the ICCB publication mentioned the visit of UN Secretary-General António Guterres and World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim to the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh in July this year.

After the visit the UN chief termed the Rohingya crisis 'one of the most tragic stories' of 'systematic violation' of human rights ever recorded, the editorial mentioned.

The World Bank announced nearly $500 million in grant-based support to help Bangladesh address the needs of refugees.

"While Myanmar faced widespread international condemnation for the military's ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, concrete action was less forthcoming," observed the ICCB.

It also mentioned that in September the UN Security Council held its first open discussion on the situation in Burma in eight years but a draft Security Council resolution was blocked by a veto threat from China.

The editorial also briefly listed the several measures taken by the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States to cut civil and military assistance to Myanmar. It also mentioned that UNHCR, the UN General Assembly and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called for an end to military operations and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance.

The international bodies also stressed voluntary and sustainable return of refugees to their original places, accountability for violations and abuses, and full respect for the 'human rights and fundamental freedoms' of the Rohingya population, including full citizenship.

The ICCB also mentioned that though Bangladesh had been receiving sympathies for hosting the Rohingyas from different quarters including the US, EU and United Nations, unfortunately no tangible progress is there in repatriation of these distressed Rohingyas so far

"It is, therefore, imperative on the part of world leaders to put their foot down and force Myanmar in rehabilitating Rohingyas without any loss of time and provide them full citizenship and grant them civil liberties," it concluded.

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