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1 June, France-Bangladesh Group to hold Rohingya Conference at the French National Assembly

Iranian Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, Bangladeshi Speaker of the Parliament Dr Shirin Shamin Chaudury and Canadian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy Hon. Bob Rae to speak MEDIA ADVISORY Bangladesh-France Friendship Group, the National Assembly of France, to host an international conference on the situation of 1 million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and persecuted Rohingya communities in Myanmar Iranian Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, Bangladeshi Speaker of the Parliament Dr Shirin Shamin Chaudury and Canadian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy Hon. Bob Rae among the speakers Paris, 22 May 2018 On 1 June, Bangladesh-France Friendship Group of the French National Assembly will be hosting a one-day international conference on the situations of 1 million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, as well as estimated half-million who are trapped inside Myanmar, their country of birth and belonging. The host Daniele Obono, MP, who chairs the Friendship group said, “700,000 Rohingyas forcibly deported, in several weeks, by Myanmar government troops across its western borders onto Bangladesh’s sovereign territory are facing the very real threats of mud slides, floods, and other water-borne diseases since the Monsoon season is fast approaching”.  Madam Obono stresses, “the international community needs to both step up its humanitarian efforts, including significant and fast increase in financial contributions to meet the survival needs of this world’s largest body of refugees in a single pocket and make concerted political and diplomatic efforts to pressurize Myanmar to end its state-directed persecution of Rohingyas”. Myanmar shocked the world last fall when it openly engaged for weeks in what UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres publicly characterised as “ethnic cleansing”.  Other senior officials and envoys such as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, described the atrocities committed against the Rohingya Muslims in Burma as ‘a textbook example of ethnic cleansing’.  Using the genocide framework, the UN Special Envoy for human rights in Myanmar Professor Yanghee Lee went further and noted the ‘hallmarks of a genocide’. The President of France Emmanuel Macron became the first Western head of state who publicly characterised violence against Rohingya group as “genocide”. International Criminal Count’s Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will appear before the three judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on June 20, for a  closed door hearing over her official request to the world’s only permanent court on war crimes as to whether she can investigate Myanmar’s mass deportations of Rohingya people as a crime against humanity. Razia Sultana, Rohingya lawyer and expert on mass rape and refugee trafficking with the Free Rohongya Coalition, who recently testified before the Security Council NGO Working Group on sexual violence, welcomes the upcoming conference on the plight of her people. Sultana said, “I want to thank the Bangladesh-France Friendship Group and its Chairwoman Madam Obono for organizing and hosting this very timely and important conference.”  She added, “the Conference at the National Assembly will help inform French public and lawmakers alike, about the genocidal conditions in which our Rohingya people have been subjected to for the last 40 years.  Although mass killings and mass deportations are most recognizable and best-known aspects of genocide, less dramatic and less reported is the fact that our communities inside Myanmar have been forced to exist in ghetto-like conditions and semi-concentration camps where we are not allowed to access adequate food intake, emergency and preventive medicine, proper schooling, or even freedom of movements to go to rice fields or streams for food, without government permissions.” Among the distinguished speakers are Dr Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian Nobel Peace Laureate and a leading member of the Nobel Women’s Initiative who has travelled to Bangladesh’s refugee camps and met with the survivors of Myanmar army’s mass rape, leading Bangladeshi lawmaker Dr Shirin Shamin Chaudury who serves as the Speaker of the National Parliament, Canadian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy Bob Rae who recently released his official report on Myanmar’s international crimes against Rohingya people.  They will be joined by leading genocide scholars, international law practitioners, human rights researchers, social scientists from Europe, N. America, Africa and Asia, as well as Rohingya rights campaigners. Contact: Brune Seban (France): +33 6 81 50 36 70 & Nay San Lwin (Germany): +49 176 62139138 & Dr Maung Zarni (UK): +44 771 047 3322 & RSVP at . All participants including the media personnel are required to fill out the  for permission to enter the National Assembly. Conference Program: BACKGROUNDER ON ROHINGYAS:

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