The Financial Express

Dhaka to seek OIC finance for Gambia’s legal battle over Rohingyas

| Updated: November 25, 2020 11:12:01

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Dhaka to seek OIC finance for Gambia’s legal battle over Rohingyas

Bangladesh is set to initiate a fund mobilisation campaign to support Gambia’s legal battle against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the Rohingya genocide as OIC foreign ministers are due to meet this week in Niger.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Tuesday said Dhaka itself planned to offer an amount to help Gambia fight the case and ask the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries to stand by the West African nation with financial assistance.

“We will disburse our fund to OIC for supporting Gambia to run the case in ICJ as they need financial support after appointing lawyers for the case,” Momen said ahead of his Niger tour.

The foreign minister is scheduled to join the 47th session of 57-member OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) in person in Niger from November 27-28, reports BSS.

He said Gambia, an OIC member as well, volunteered to move to ICJ with the Rohingya issue and needed the financial support to fight the case.

 “Dhaka will make a strong plea” in the regard, he said.

Officials familiar with the initiatives said Dhaka by now disbursed a fund to the OIC for supporting the Gambia’s case but declined to disclose the amount saying it would be befitting to announce it during the CFM meeting with its theme being “United against Terrorism for Peace and Development”.

OIC General Secretariat set the stage for the meeting in Niger’s capital Niamey.

Momen expected the Rohingya crisis to largely dominate CMF agenda to add afresh pressure on Myanmar in the “accountability and justice front” and to take back their nationals from Bangladesh.

”The OIC took the Rohingya issue seriously . . . all the OIC members have been supporting us strongly over the issue in the United Nations,” he said.

He added that the OIC response to the crisis was visible though being a grouping it might not be a very strong bloc to resolve the issue.

Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar district and most of them arrived there after August 25, 2017 after the military crackdown at their homeland.

OIC Secretary General Dr Yousef Al-Othaimeen earlier in a statement said the existing issues concerning the Muslim countries were included in the CFM agenda like Palestinian cause, fight against violence, extremism and terrorism, Islamophobia and religious defamation.

The CFM, he said, simultaneously would discuss how to raise funds for the Rohingya case at the ICJ.

On November last year, Gambia had brought the case against Myanmar to the ICJ with the backing of OIC, Canada and the Netherlands while ICJ held its first hearing on December 10-12.

At the December hearing, Gambia accused Myanmar of breaching the 1948 UN Genocide Convention through a bloody military campaign with an aim to “get Myanmar to account for its action against its own people: the Rohingyas”.

On January 23 last the ICJ made the historic unanimous decision ordering provisional measures to prevent further acts of genocide against the Rohingyas in Myanmar.

On February this year, Bangladesh urged the OIC for continued support to Gambia in the case until a final verdict is issued as well as to ensure safe, dignified and sustained repatriation of Rohingyas to their land of origin in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Dhaka made the proposal at the 47th CMF preparatory meeting of senior OIC officials, where Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen led the Bangladesh delegation, held at the organization’s general secretariat in Jeddah.

At the meeting, the OIC member states agreed with Bangladesh proposals while OIC general secretariat has set up a dedicated account to facilitate the resource mobilization efforts.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Momen urged at different global multilateral platforms to create a ‘Friends of the Gambia group’ for promoting international justice and accountability for the Rohingyas.

Canada and the Netherlands have already joined the group and vowed its all-out support to Gambia for its case with the ICJ.

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