Ansar Ahmed Ullah :: The United Nations Association (UNA) Eastbourne hosted a Public Meeting at Eastbourne Town Hall on the 10th October examining the plight and humanitarian crisis affecting the Rohingyas in Myanmar and Bangladesh. The topic of the discussion was “The Rohingya issue: Just Solution to Humanitarian Crisis” to look at how the world community can respond to alleviate suffering and reduce instability in the region.
The event was chaired by Ian Elgie, Chairperson, UNA Eastbourne who made introductory remarks saying that the Rohingyas are being persecuted in their home country of Myanmar. They have been denied citizenship of Myanmar, denied basic rights and now their homes are being burnt to the ground by the authorities. Guest John Morrison, Chief Executive of the Institute for Human Rights and Business, was the keynote speaker for the evening. John Morrison who sits on the UK Foreign Secretary’s Human Rights Advisory Group, has extensive knowledge on United Nations and has been to Myanmar gave a presentation on the current situation, the scale of the crisis, its history, actions of Myanmar government and the way in which government, business and all of us might respond. Mozmil Hussain, UNA UK Member of Bengali origin also spoke at the event who said 500,000 Rohingyas have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh where are experiencing conditions described as the worst that any of our world’s large refugee population have to tolerate. It’s overwhelming for Bangladesh to deal with the crisis on its own as it is already struggling with catastrophic consequences of climate change causing severe flooding in its towns and cities. Deputy Mayor of Eastbourne Borough Council Md Harun Miah also addressed the meeting.
Following prestation and talks the floor was opened for Q&A and contributions. Those who took part in the discussions covering Rohingya crisis affect on the wider international community, multilateral, reginal institutions, role of NGOs and civil society were Ms Lucatte A Davis, Hon Secretary, UNA Eastbourne, Cllr Kathy Ballard, Cllr Gous Chowdhury, Deputy Mayor of Seaford Cllr Rahnuma Hayder, Md Radwan Hussain, Member UNA UK, Md Ali Hayder, Vice Chairman, Bangladesh Human Rights Commission, Tahmina Begum, S H R S UK, Mrs Rina Begum, Women Secretary, Bangladesh Human Rights Commission Sussex, Mr Brian O’Neill, Rotary Club of Eastbourne, Mr Arthur Chapman, Rotary Club of Eastbourne, community leaders Mr Shukur Ahmed, Mr Rahman Chowdhury & Dr Hasan Mahmood, human rights activists Fazlul Hoque, Mojumdar Ali & Ansar Ahmed Ullah, Mr Scott O Rourke, Matthew 25, Sally Boys, Friends of the Earth, Mr Andrew Darling, Friends of the Earth, Mr John Ballard, Conservative Party, Haji Dobbir Miah, S H R S UK amongst others who attended.
Finally, Mozmil Hussain, UNA UK Member who was instrumental in organising this public meeting suggested practical ways in which local support can extended to the wider region, through the network of instructions such as local UNA branches. The Eastbourne UNA also planned to hold a display in support of the Rohingya refugees in Eastbourne Town Centre on International Human Rights Day on Sunday 10 December. In addition, a Sussex Committee was formed to support Rohingya orphans.