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Rohingya crisis: Commonwealth parliamentarians call for urgent action at Dhaka assembly

November 7, 2017

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association or CPA has adopted a statement calling for urgent action from the international community to resolve the humanitarian crisis facing the Rohingyas of Myanmar. 

The CPA adopted the statement at its 63rd General Assembly in Bangladesh capital Dhaka on the closing day on Tuesday.

The parliamentarians of the Commonwealth countries "unequivocally condemn the atrocities committed against Rohingyas in Myanmar which amounts to genocide", according to the statement.

"Myanmar must take back its people immediately and create condition to sustainable re-settlement of the Rohingya population in safety and dignity," it said.

Around 550 MPs, including 56 speakers of national and regional parliaments of over 50 countries, joined the CPA conference this year.

The CPA also said Myanmar should recognise the Rohingyas as citizens in light of the recommendations by the Kofi Annan Commission formed by the country's government.

The association urged the international community to keep up pressure on Myanmar to take back the Rohingyas.

The parliamentarians asked the association's secretary general to raise the issue again in the next assembly if the situation in Myanmar continues until then.

The CPA assembly has been held when over 600,000 Rohingyas have joined around 400,000 refugees in Bangladesh in the face of a brutal army operation in Myanmar's Rakhine state following insurgents' attack on security forces on Aug 25.

Myanmar has been defiant to calls by global bodies like the UN and its Security Council, and countries including the US and UK to stop the army operation dubbed a classic example of ethnic cleansing.

Bangladesh, which is struggling to handle the huge number of refugees with the help of global agencies, sent a delegation led by Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal last month to discuss the process of Rohingya repatriation but no progress is visible yet.

On the closing day on Tuesday, CPA Secretary-General Akbar Khan placed the statement before the full house for consideration.

Its Chairperson Bangladesh Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury opened a discussion on the statement.

Malaysia's representative hailed the statement saying he hoped the international community would pay heed to the call.

Barbados representative, however, questioned the jurisdiction of adopting the statement in the forum.

Bangladesh delegation chief Deputy Speaker Fazle Rabbi Miah welcomed the statement.

"There was no scope of a resolution here. I thank everyone for adopting the statement," he said,

Another participant then drew Chaudhury's attention and said there was no need for discussion as the statement was already adopted. 

The chairperson then asked for all the participants' opinion and they adopted it in a voice vote.

Chaudhury then thanked all and announced the end of the Dhaka assembly.

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