The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Norwegian government yesterday signed an agreement in Dhaka, aimed at fostering peace and harmony in Rohingya camps and host communities in Cox’s Bazar.
Sidsel Bleken, Norwegian ambassador to Bangladesh, and Sudipto Mukerjee, resident representative, UNDP Bangladesh signed the agreement worth USD 747,306 at the UNDP office for 2019-2021 period.
Under the agreement, UNDP will conduct a research to understand drivers of social tensions in Rohingya camps and host communities in Cox’s Bazar affected by the Rohingya influx since August 2017.
Some 7,50,000 Rohingyas fled military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state since August 2017 and joined 3,00,000 others, who had fled to Cox’s Bazar during earlier waves of violence. In Rakhine, they have been denied citizenship and faced discriminatory policies by the Myanmar government since 1982.
According to reports received from Cox’s Bazar, host communities who had welcomed the Rohingyas in 2017 are now expressing dissatisfaction about the refugees’ presence because of the pressures they have been feeling socially, economically and environmentally.
According to the UNDP statement, the research findings will better inform and support UN programme on early warning of any conflict and prevention, as well as partnership with Bangladesh.
Sudipto Mukerjee said this initiative will strengthen development work in Cox’s Bazar and help promote peace and tolerance in the camps and host communities.
Sidsel Bleken said Norway continues its support for implementation and monitoring of SDG 16: peace, justice and strong institutions around the world, and has been working to resolve the Rohingya crisis.
“The agreement hopefully will pave the way for a peaceful and inclusive society in Cox’s Bazar,” she said.
The agreement is a part of UNDP’s broader “Partnerships for a Tolerant, Inclusive Bangladesh” project, which promotes diverse and constructive narratives already present in the country in support of tolerance.