(August 5, 2019 | Chittagong, Bangladesh) As the political impasse between Bangladesh and Myanmar over the Rohingya crisis deepens and tensions between local communities and Rohingya refugees are escalating, over 70 Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Christian leaders, women of faith and youth leaders in Bangladesh convened a National Consultation for the RfP 10th World Assembly in Chittagong, Bangladesh on 3 August 2019.
Religious leaders from both countries are determined to overcome misperceptions, build confidence between two countries and their peoples, and strive to find a peaceful and just solution to the plight of Rohingya refugees. Senior religious leaders from both countries will hold a series of track II peace consultations during the World Assembly.
RfP International and Bangladesh will also organize the 2nd Buddhist-Muslim Forum Summit in Cox’s Bazar on 21-23 November 2019, bringing together approximately 30 senior-most Buddhist and Muslim leaders from South and South East Asia. The 1st Buddhist Muslim Summit, convened by Religions for Peace, International Network of Engaged Buddhists, JUST and Muhammadiya, produced a historic “Yogyakarta Statement of Shared Values and Commitments” between two religious traditions for peace with justice, religious freedom and care for the environment. The Buddhist- Muslim and interreligious action to overcome the current political impasse on the Rohingya crisis will be part of the agenda of the upcoming 2nd Summit of Buddhist and Muslim leaders.
RfP Bangladesh has been bringing together the support of faith leaders from the world’s major religious traditions in an effort to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance for Rohingya refugees. RfP Bangladesh and its local interreligious committees in Cox’s Bazar has provided food, medicine, and mosquito nets to Rohingya refugees in Balukhali, Kutupalong, Jamtoli, Nayapara, Ukhia, and other Rohingya camps. Participants in the National Consultation were also encouraged by the visit of Cardinal Charles Bo, Patron of RfP Myanmar and President, Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference, to Rohingya refugee camps a few days earlier. Cardinal Bo and Myanmar delegates will join RfP Bangladesh leaders to engage in a private Track II Peace Consultation at the RfP 10th World Assembly in Lindau, Germany to discuss humanitarian crisis of Rohingya refugees.
The National Consultation also addressed female child trafficking and violence against women. In recent years, RfP Bangladesh has undertaken multi-religious advocacy and action for the dignity and well-being of children as part of a multi-year interreligious project in partnership with RfP Asia.
The National Consultation was led by Chairman Principal Sukomal Barua, RfP Bangladesh, Prof. Ranajit Kumar Dey, Executive President, RfP Bangladesh, Dr. NHM Abu Bakar, Secretary General, RfP Bangladesh, Mr. Dilip Barua, Assistant Secretary General, RfP Bangladesh, and Mr. Kanchana Barua, Treasurer, RfP Bangladesh. Rev. Kyoichi Sugino, Deputy Secretary General, RfP International, delivered a keynote address as the chief guest of the consultation.