Foreign ministers of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation countries are set to meet together in Niger today while the Rohingya genocide case with the International Court of Justice is expected to come up among the top agendas.
OIC secretary general Yousef Al-Othaimeen said in a statement that the council of foreign ministers would discuss how to raise funds for the Rohingya case at the ICJ in addition to other issues concerning the Muslim world like Palestinian cause, fight against violence, extremism and terrorism, Islamophobia and religious defamation.
OIC secretariat set the stage for the two-day 47th session of 57-member OIC’s council of foreign ministers meeting in Niger’s capital Niamey from Nov 27-28.
The OIC foreign ministers will also discuss political, humanitarian, economic, socio-cultural and other issues related to science and technology, the media and the implementation progress of the OIC plan of action 2025.
The situation of Muslim minorities and communities in non-member states as well as civilisation, cultural and religious dialogue promotion, and other matters may come before the council, the OIC secretariat said.
‘The OIC took the Rohingya issue seriously… all the OIC members have been supporting us strongly over the issue in the United Nations,’ Bangladesh foreign minister said on Tuesday.
Momen expected the Rohingya crisis to largely dominate CFM agenda to add fresh pressure on Myanmar in the ‘accountability and justice front’ and to take back their nationals from Bangladesh.
The foreign minister was scheduled to attend the CFM in person, but he got positive for coronavirus while undergoing the COVID-19 test in Dhaka one day before flying to Niger.
However, in absence of the foreign minister, ambassador to Saudi Arabia Mohammad Javed Patwary, who is also Bangladesh permanent representative to OIC will lead the Bangladesh delegation at CFM today.
The Bangladesh delegation also includes director general of international organisation of the foreign ministry Wahida Ahmed.
Bangladesh is set to initiate a fund mobilisation campaign at the CFM to support Gambia’s legal battle against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice over the Rohingya genocide.
Momen said that 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 itself planned to offer an amount to help Gambia fight the case and ask the 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 lawyer for the case,’ Momen said on Tuesday.
‘Dhaka will make a strong plea’ in the regard, he said.
Officials familiar with Bangladesh initiatives said that Dhaka by now disburse 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 .’
Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar and most of them arrived there since August 25, 2017 after the military crackdown at their homeland.
In 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.
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.
During the CFM, Bangladesh would also present the country’s so far success, under the leadership of prime minister Sheikh Hasina, in containing the coronavirus while advocate for equal distribution of potential COVID-19 vaccine to all countries irrespective of rich and poor.
Saying that Bangladesh is in a leadership role in promoting equal access of potential COVID-19 vaccine to the global platforms, Momen added, ‘Vaccine should be distributed among all countries without discrimination … We do believe in principle that unless all are COVID free, no one can be COVID free.’
Rights of migrant workers would be another important agenda for Bangladesh at the CFM as rich Middle Eastern OIC member states host huge numbers of expatriate Bangladeshi workers.
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