The UN Under Secretary General and Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng applauded the commitment demonstrated by the government of Bangladesh in supporting the Rohingya refugees on Saturday, June 23, saying “the Bangladeshi people demonstrated very early on their solidarity towards the Rohingya people, providing them with shelter and support when they arrived.”
The under secretary general said this while addressing the closing session of a workshop titled “Fostering Peaceful and Inclusive Communities in Bangladesh: The Role of Religious Leaders and Actors”, jointly organized by the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Save and Serve Foundation at a hotel in Dhaka.
He emphasised the importance of ensuring Rohingya refugees are given opportunities to educational access and have access to livelihood opportunities in Bangladesh until they can return to Burma.
Adama Dieng said religious leaders can play a crucial role by promoting messages of peace and tolerance and by fostering dialogue between the Rohingya refugees and host communities.
“I hope the religious leaders and actors, as well as policy makers and civil society representatives present here will continue to show this same humanity”, Dieng said.
Md Nojibur Rahman, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, conveyed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s message of support for interfaith initiatives that promote social cohesion and respond to pressing development challenges in Cox’s Bazar district resulting from the influx of Rohingya refugees.
UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Mia Seppo stressed that the government and the people of Bangladesh are the biggest donors to the Rohingya response. She said the UN is committed to assisting Bangladesh, but it was host communities in Cox’s Bazar who were the true ‘first responders’.
Mia Seppo praised Bangladeshi host communities for their compassion, stating that Bangladesh’s traumatic experience in 1971, with millions of Bangladeshis forced to flee as refugees, had made the country particularly generous towards refugees from other nations.
She also underlined that the biggest challenge in the region is to ensure a sense of hope for a better future, and that interventions need to address the urgent needs of Bangladeshi host communities affected by the crisis, just as they also aim to improve conditions for the refugees themselves.
Meanwhile, Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary General Farhan Haq said the UN is trying to facilitate the safe and voluntary return of the Rohingya refugees to Burma.