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Commonwealth lauds Bangladesh for sheltering Rohingya

CHOGM leaders called for a halt to all violence, a restoration of normality, and accountability of the perpetrators of gross violations of human rights through and independent process of investigation.

world Updated: Apr 21, 2018 21:49 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Journalists put their hands up to ask questions during the closing press conference for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at Marlborough House in London on Friday.
Journalists put their hands up to ask questions during the closing press conference for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at Marlborough House in London on Friday.(AP)

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) has commended Bangladesh for sheltering Rohingya refugees and called for a halt to violence in Myanmar, restoration of normality and accountability of violators of human rights.

A 12-page communique issued at the end of the meeting on Friday set out the 53-member group’s position on various issues, including security, trade, migration and climate change, and focused on the situation of Rohingyas in Bangladesh and the Rakhine state in Myanmar.

The communique said: “Heads called for a halt to all violence, a restoration of normality, and accountability of the perpetrators of gross violations of human rights through and independent process of investigation”.

“They further called for the sustainable return of all such displaced Rohingya sheltered in Bangladesh to their rightful home in Myanmar under UNHCR oversight,” it added.

Attended by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, CHOGM also called for action to address the root causes of the crisis, including through the immediate implementation of the Rakhine Advisory (Kofi Annan) Commission’s recommendation.

The communique included a section on chemical weapons in the context of Britain, which takes over the group’s chair for the next two years, engaged in a battle of attrition with Russia and Syria for alleged chemical attacks in Salisbury and Syria in recent weeks.

“Heads opposed the use of chemical weapons under any circumstances and are committed to strengthening the effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention…(They) stressed that the conduct of all investigations of any alleged use of chemical weapons must be in accordance with the provisions of the Convention,” the communique said.

Speaking after the summit, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “This is the first time that security has been a central theme of our leaders’ meeting…Earlier this month the Assad regime violated international rules in the most egregious way by using chemical weapons in an indiscriminate and barbaric attack on its own people”.

“And while of a much lower order of magnitude, the use of a nerve agent on the streets of Salisbury here in the United Kingdom last month, is part of a pattern of disregard for those same global norms that prohibit the use of chemical weapons”. The Commonwealth, she said had shown at the summit that it will play its part in a renewed international effort to uphold the global norms that say these abhorrent weapons should never be used.