Call for redoubling effort for repatriation of Rohingya refugees
Cox's Bazar CSO NGO Forum (CCNF), a network of 50 local NGOs working in Cox's Bazar on Tuesday organised a virtual seminar on the eve of the World Humanitarian Day, titled "Respect to the front line workers of COVID 19, Solidarity and Diversity."
Speakers at the seminar said the UN agencies, international NGOs and the government should redouble their effort on political mobilization for dignified return of Rohingya refugees.
The speakers also said Bangladesh has already been suffering of multifaceted problems including climate catastrophes, COVID-19 and floods, especially in the Cox's Bazar district.
Rashedul Islam, Director General, NGO Affairs Bureau, Prime Minister Office, who attended the as chief guest, said that dignified return of Myanmar nationals from Bangladesh is the best response to the humanitarianism.
He also appreciated the effort of local NGOs and sacrifice of front line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The virtual seminar was chaired by Ashraful Afsar, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Cox's Bazar. It was also attended by Ajmat Ullah, Country Representative, IFRC as guest of honor, while Shamsuddoha, Additional RRRC, Kefayet from UNHCR, Dr. Samir Halder from IoM and Saikat from ISCG (Inter Sectoral Coordination Group) participated the seminar as guests.
The seminar was moderated by Abu Morshed Chowdhury and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, co-chairs, CCNF.
Eight local front line workers, namely Afroza Sumi, Shafiul Sweet, Sanjida Akhi, Aloka, Zahangir Alam, and Huree Jannat narrated their personal experiences on COVID-19.
It is reported that around 129 NGOs, 16,000 workers are there in Cox's Bazar Rohingya response where around 1,000 front line workers were infected by COVID-19. The audience at the seminar showed great respect to them including Rohingya and host community volunteers, along with doctors and nurses who still work to save lives.
Local NGO leaders Sheuly Sharma of Jago Nari urged more funding has become a priority to local NGOs as they are the first responders.
Arifur Rahman of YPSA requested the international agencies to respect principle of partnership i.e. equal treatment to local NGOs.
Abdullah Al Mamun of Meghna Foundation said that in respect of capacity it should be capacity exchange.
Tariqul of ACLAB requested local NGO access and participation in Rohingya response management.
Bimol of Mukti urged for project approval should be at least for 12 months.
Abul Kashem of HELP narrated the flight of locals of UKhiya and Teknaf, they are outnumbered and economic and social crisis is deepening.
Neleema Akhter of Agrajatra said that, local people are in frustration as not see much progress in political front, she urged to government and international agencies redouble effort for dignified repatriation of Rohingya refugees rather than giving effort for fund raising for humanitarian response.
The moderators Abu Morshed Chowdhury andRezaul Karim Chowdhury, appreciated the help from international agencies especially UNHCR and IoM for helping local administration in COVID 19 response. UNHCR has so far established 12 COVID19 treatment centers with 650 beds, and it has also provided 10 ICU beds with all facilities to the Cox’s Bazar Sadar hospital.
An inclusive approach helped to keep the infection rate control in both Rohingya response and also in host community, they opined.