The 63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) will discuss the Rohingya refugees even though the crisis has been left off the official programme, a member of the media management committee has said.
Kazi Nabil Ahmed - also a lawmaker from the Jessore 3 constituency - said the Rohingya crisis should be discussed at a workshop on the sidelines of the annual flagship event, which is due to be inaugurated on 1 November by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
“The Rohingya crisis is not enlisted in the eight major sessions of the CPC as the agenda was fixed four to five months ago, and the latest influx of Rohingya into Bangladesh started from August 25,” Nabil said.
“The Rohingya issue is now a multinational one, not just bilateral of its kind, as over 600,000 people of the minority community have so far entered Bangladesh fleeing atrocities by Myanmarese forces.
“Since the Rohingya issue has become a humanitarian crisis, the issues relating to health, sanitation and education will definitely surface in the CPC,” he said.
The CPC will run for one week in Dhaka and bring together 550 lawmakers, parliament staff members and decision makers from 44 commonwealth countries.
Nabil said the plight of the Rohingya will feature in a workshop titled “What factors fuel the rise of different kinds of nationalism?”.
“The Rohingya crisis may also be discussed on the sidelines and in different sessions of the conference,” he told a media briefing yesterday.
Speaking about Pakistan joining the CPC, the media management committee member said: “As far as I know, Pakistani authorities have sent the names of their delegates who are supposed to attend the conference.”
He said the Speaker and her deputy may sit with the Pakistani delegates in different sessions of the CPC, since the country has been criticising the legal system of Bangladesh - especially the war crimes trial - for the past year.
Pakistan did not participate in the 136th Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly held in Dhaka in April this year.
With the theme “Continuing to enhance the high standards of performance of parliamentarians”, the eight-day-long CPC, one of the largest annual gatherings of commonwealth parliamentarians, will be held at the South Plaza of the Bangladesh Parliament from next Wednesday.
Former information minister and chairman of standing committee of Planning Ministry, Md Abul Kalam Azad, and lawmakers Fazilatunnesa Bappy and Tanveer Imam also spoke at Thursday’s press briefing.