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Address funding shortfall for Rohingyas: speakers

Messenger Online

Published: 18:10, 8 June 2024

Address funding shortfall for Rohingyas: speakers

Photo: Collected 

Speakers at a human chain programme on Saturday (8 June) opined that though the Rohingya crisis has become increasingly more complex in seven years, persistent funding shortfalls have compounded that crisis.

Although there is no option but to repatriate, the World Bank intensified this crisis by giving more loans to the already debt-ridden Bangladesh to solve it, they said.

Speakers came up with their remarks while addressing a human chain and rally organised by nine civic and development organisations, led by Equity and Justice Working Group (EquityBD) in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka today.

Other organisations, included Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Sundarban O Upakul Surokha Andolon, CSRL, NDF, FN Foundation, Trinamool Unnayan Sangstha, Water Keepers Bangladesh and Youth Net for Climate Justice.

Presided over by EquityBD’s Chief Moderator Rezaul Karim Chowdhury , the human chain programme was moderated by EquityBD Secretariat Coordinator Mustafa Kamal Akand.

Zayed Iqbal Khan of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Omour Farooq Bhuiya of BDCSO Process, Mamun Kabir of Water Keepers Bangladesh, Assistant Professor Mir Mohammad Ali of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, Abdullah Al Hadi Munna of FN Foundation spoke in the meeting. Ambulance Hossain, President of the Garment Workers Federation, and Lion Akbar Hossain, the brave freedom fighter, spoke in solidarity.

In his speech, moderator Mustafa Kamal Akand said that the per capita fund allocated for the Rohingya population has already dropped from $12 to $8. Every year the funding for them is gradually decreasing. However, the international organisations engaged in humanitarian programs are not reducing management costs accordingly. This management cost must be reduced immediately. Otherwise, this crisis will become extreme, he added.

Freedom fighter Lion Akbar Hossain said that debt is always a negative thing. Be it an individual, or a country. So, we are against making Bangladesh more indebted.

Mir Mohammad Ali, assistant professor of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, said that the World Bank loan will not help Bangladesh in any way. Rather, it will push the already debt-burdened country towards more crisis.

EquityBD's Barkat Ullah Maruf said the refugee crisis around the world is growing but funding for emergency assistance is shrinking. This funding shortfall against the appeal for emergency response in 2023 was $36 billion, he said, adding that only 25% of the funds asked for was received for the Rohingya crisis last year. In such cases, repatriation is the only option. If the World Bank wants to help Bangladesh overcome the crisis, it should provide funds for repatriation.

In his speech, chief moderator Rezaul Karim Chowdhurythat the Bangladesh government is spending 1.2 billion dollars every year beyond the Rohingya relief program. When the Bangladesh government asked for assistance in the development of local communities affected by the Rohingya crisis, the World Bank offered a loan for this. We are protesting this because, since Bangladesh is not responsible for this crisis, it must not take loans.

Omour Farooq Bhuiya of BDCSO Process said that Bangladesh is already burdened with debt, which must be paid by the common people of the next generation. Meanwhile, the per capita debt of the country is 580 dollars. Increasing this debt means putting the next generation in debt before they are born.