‘You are not alone,’ OIC delegation tells Rohingya after visiting their camps

Rohingya refugees play football at Kutupalong camp in Cox's Bazaar, Bangladesh. (Files/Reuters)
Updated 13 September 2018
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‘You are not alone,’ OIC delegation tells Rohingya after visiting their camps

  • Members of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States spoke to several refugees during their visit
  • The delegation expressed their firm determination to help in the repatriation process of the Rohingya

DHAKA, Bangladesh: A 20-member delegation of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) expressed solidarity with the Rohingya refugees when it visited them in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, on Wednesday, telling them that they are not alone.

Nine members of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States (PUIC) also joined the delegation.

“We express our solidarity with you, also show our determination that you are not alone,” M. Jouhamed Khouraichi Niass, the OIC Parliamentary Union (PUIC) secretary-general, told the Rohingya after visiting their camps. 

The delegation started the day-long visit by speaking to several refugee men and women at Ghumdhum for an hour. Later, they visited a UNHCR-run transit center in Kutupalang camp, in the Ukhia sub-district. 

The delegation also witnessed a women-friendly center and a child-friendly center in Kutupalang camp, run by the UN Population Fund and the UN children’s fund UNICEF respectively. In all the places, the Rohigya shared the horrible experiences and atrocities they had faced at the hands of the army in their homeland Myanmar which forced them to take refuge in Bangladesh.

The PUIC delegation expressed their firm determination to help in the repatriation process of the Rohingya. 

“We will discuss using whole channels, diplomatic channels and bilateral channels to help our brothers go back to their native Myanmar. This is what which brought us here today,” said Khouraichi Niass, the chief of the delegation.

“All the countries sent us here studying your issue. We will use all means, legal means, to get your rights. This is why we are here today with a big delegation from the PUIC.” 

Niass expressed his strong hope that “Allah will help to succeed with a peaceful solution” for the Rohingya refugee crisis.

Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner of Bangladesh, Abul Kalam, told Arab News that in this visit the PUIC delegation had received a clear picture about what is going on and what the refugees have experienced back in Myanmar. “Now the PUIC will strengthen its bilateral efforts to solve the refugee crisis since Myanmar has very good relations with some of the OIC members and the delegation has assured us in this regard.” 

After this visit, OIC will be able to play a “more effective role” in various diplomatic channels, said Kalam, who was part of the visiting delegation.


India and Afghanistan review their strategic partnership

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, right, with Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Wednesday. (AFP)
Updated 20 September 2018
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India and Afghanistan review their strategic partnership

  • Afghan, Indian leaders “reviewed and positively assessed the progress of the multi-faceted India-Afghanistan strategic partnership”
  • The two countries also decided “to strengthen connectivity, including through Chabahar port and the air-freight corridor.”

NEW DELHI: India and Afghanistan reviewed bilateral civil and military cooperation during a one day of meetings in  New Delhi on Wednesday.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani held a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which the two sides “reviewed and positively assessed the progress of the multi-faceted India-Afghanistan strategic partnership.”

A press release from the Indian Prime Minister’s office announced after the meeting: “It was agreed to deepen the New Development Partnership in the areas of high impact projects in this field of infrastructure, human resources development and other capacity-building projects in Afghanistan.” 

 The two countries also decided “to strengthen connectivity, including through Chabahar port and the air-freight corridor.”

 “I would like to thank the Indian people for their commitment to Afghanistan's future,” Ghani said in a speech in New Delhi before leaving for Kabul.

“What India-Afghanistan share is deep and binding trust in democratic institutions,” he added.

Modi supported an “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace and reconciliation process” and pledged “India's unwavering commitment to support the efforts of the government of Afghanistan to this end, as also for the security and sovereignty of Afghanistan.”

 “Peace with the Taliban is important so that we can concentrate on counter-terrorism. The Taliban is part of Afghan society, ISIS (using another term for the terror group Daesh) is not. We must make that distinction,” Ghani said in his address at the New Delhi-based think tank, India Foundation.

 Commenting on Ghani’s visit, Vishal Chandra of Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA), a New Delhi-based think tank, said: “The timing of the visit is significant; he has come at a time when the Afghan forces are under great pressure from the Taliban and Daesh.” He added that Ghani was looking for wider regional support in initiatives to stem the rising tide of terrorism.

Talking to Arab News, Chandra underlined that “there is no question of India involving itself militarily in Afghanistan, but it might step up its efforts to ensure that they have better air capability and they don’t have shortage of ammunition. I don’t expect India to supply heavy weaponry.”

Harsh V. Pant, director of the think tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF) said: “Despite India scaling up its presence in the defence sector, New Delhi’s military presence in Afghanistan is limited.

“The appetite in India for military involvement is very small; there is no consensus about the military footprints New Delhi should have in Afghanistan. But there is a consensus that New Delhi’s security cooperation with Kabul should be extended and should be robust and that is what India is doing.” 

In his book “India’s Afghanistan Muddle” Pant argued that “India cannot evolve its equity in Afghanistan unless some form of military involvement happens.”

Pant told Arab News: “The visit of Ghani at this time is a sign of a certain maturity in the relationship where Afghanistan feels that India should be kept in a loop. The relationship has grown to an extent that two sides are comfortable with each other in sharing assessment about where the political trajectory is going.”