CPA Statement 

Commonwealth Parliamentarians call for urgent action from the international community to resolve the ongoing humanitarian crisis facing the Rohingya community
 


The following statement was adopted by consensus by the Commonwealth Parliamentarians attending the 63rd General Assembly of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) held in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Tuesday 7 November 2017.

The 63rd General Assembly of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association CPA:

  
Affirms the collective will of the membership of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to call for urgent action from the international community to resolve the ongoing humanitarian crisis facing the Rohingyas ethnic minority. 

Recalls and takes note of the Charter of the United Nations (1945), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1963), the IPU resolution adopted by the 137th Assembly on ‘Ending the human crisis, persecution and violent attacks on the Rohingyas as a threat to international peace and security and ensuring their unconditional and safe return to their homeland in Myanmar’; UN General Assembly resolution 69/248 which urges Myanmar to grant citizenship and equal rights to the Rohingyas ethnic minority; the final report and recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State led by Kofi Annan; and, the UN Secretary-General’s comments and concern on ‘ethnic cleansing’.      
  
  Recalls that the CPA, now in its 106th year, is the recognised and respected voice of all Commonwealth Parliaments and Parliamentarians across the 52 nations of the Commonwealth and its mandate includes the implementation of the enduring values of the Commonwealth through over 180 parliaments and legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance. 

Affirms the 2017 theme of a ‘Peacebuilding Commonwealth’ issued by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Head of the Commonwealth, which states that the cornerstones on which peace are founded are respect and understanding for one another and that only by working together, we build peace by defending the dignity of every individual and community; and, only by upholding justice and the rule of law, and by striving for societies that are fair and offer opportunities for all, we overcome division and find reconciliation so that the benefits of progress and prosperity may be multiplied and shared.  
   
                Recalls the importance of Commonwealth Parliaments and Parliamentarians engaging and collaborating at both the international and national levels to establish strategies of conflict prevention to promote global peace and security, respect for human rights and the rule of law. 

                Welcomes the comprehensive briefing provided to Commonwealth Parliamentarians attending the 63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Dhaka on 5th November 2017 from the Honourable Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, His Excellency Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, MP as set out in the background note to this Statement.

                Calls on all Commonwealth Parliaments and Parliamentarians to condemn the atrocities, oppression, ethnic cleansing, displacement and all gross violations of human rights including loss of innocent lives in the Rakhine State of Myanmar.

                Calls on the Government of Myanmar to stop the violence and practice of ethnic cleansing in the Rakhine State immediately, unconditionally and indefinitely, and to ensure the sustainable return of all forcibly displaced Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh and other countries to their homes in Myanmar within the shortest possible time, and to implement the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State immediately, unconditionally and completely.

                Urges Commonwealth Member States to request the Government of Myanmar take urgent measures to ensure the sustainable return of forcibly displaced Rohingyas and internally and externally displaced Rohingyas to their homeland in the Rakhine State in safety, security, dignity and with guaranteed livelihoods.

Appreciates the efforts of the Government of Bangladesh, particularly the Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her decision to open the borders of Bangladesh to the forcibly displaced Rohingya people from Myanmar; and, to help close to one million distressed Rohingyas with shelter, food, sanitation, water, medical attention etc.

Invites all Commonwealth Member States to help in securing basic rights for the Rohingyas, extend humanitarian support to the Rohingyas and join the efforts of Bangladesh and the international community towards a sustainable return of Rohingyas to their homeland in the Rakhine State of Myanmar.

                Requests the CPA Secretary General to convey the present Statement to all the CPA Member Parliaments, the United Nations Secretary-General and the relevant international and regional organizations; and, invites Commonwealth Parliaments and Parliamentarians to remain seized of this matter regarding further developments in Myanmar with a view to bringing back any concerns to the CPA Secretary General to be placed before the 64th General Assembly of the CPA.

-Ends-


Background
The following is a summary of the briefing provided to Commonwealth Parliamentarians attending the 63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference from His Excellency Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, MP, the Honourable Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

Since August 25, 2017, more than 600,000 Rohingyas from the Rakhine State of Myanmar fled their homeland to escape torture, killing, arson and other violations amounting to mass atrocity crimes for safety and security. Earlier nearly 400,000 forcibly displaced Rohingyas from Myanmar had also been in Bangladesh. Today the violence and atrocities in Myanmar continue and thousands still enter Bangladesh on a daily basis.  The Rohingyas have been denied of basic civil and political rights in Myanmar including the right to citizenship and had been regular victims of persecution and violence. Despite space and resource constraint, Bangladesh has provided the displaced Rohingyas with shelter, food and other basic humanitarian services. However, the sheer number of the displaced population and their traumatized state has remained a challenge for Bangladesh. 

While the humanitarian response would help the Rohingyas temporarily, for a durable and lasting solution, the problem has to be resolved in its root. The displaced Rohingyas must be able to return to their homeland in safety, security and dignity. During the 72nd UNGA, Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh made a 5-point proposal: i) unconditional, immediate and permanent cessation of violence and ethnic cleansing by Myanmar, ii) sending a fact finding mission to Myanmar, iii) protection of all civilians, irrespective of religion and ethnicity in Myanmar by creation of safe zones, iv) sustainable return of all forcibly displaced Rohingya people to their homes in Myanmar and v) immediate, unconditional and full implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State. 

Bangladesh, a responsible and responsive State, has remained consistently engaged with Myanmar for a peaceful and durable solution to this longstanding and critical problem. Bangladesh has also remained deeply engaged with the international community including the regional and international organizations, to persuade Myanmar to ensure return of the forcibly displaced Rohingyas to their homes in Northern Rakhine State of Myanmar. In this regard, a resolution on the human rights situation in Myanmar has recently been tabled in the 3rd Committee in the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. 

Bangladesh urges the members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to impress upon the respective governments to cosponsor and support the 3rd Committee resolution which is expected to be voted upon on the 14th of November 2017. 

The Members of the Parliaments of the Commonwealth Countries may unequivocally condemn the atrocities committed against Rohingyas in Myanmar which amounts to genocide and demand that Myanmar must take back its people immediately and create condition for sustainable resettlement of the Rohingya population in safety and dignity, and should recognize that to have a lasting solution of the crisis the issue of rights and citizenship of Rohingyas must be addressed in light of the recommendations made by the Kofi Annan Commission.

-Ends-

Statement issued Tuesday 7 Novermber 2017

Notes to Editors:

63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, 1-8 November 2017, Dhaka, Bangladesh 
The Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference is the annual conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). The 63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference will take place in Dhaka, Bangladesh hosted by the CPA Bangladesh Branch and the Parliament of Bangladesh. For further information visit www.cpahq.org/cpahq/annualconference.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) exists to develop, promote and support Commonwealth Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and to implement the enduring values of the Commonwealth. The CPA is an international community of over 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance.

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