By Hichael Rashid, Rohingya Community Ireland
“The world is with you, I am with you.”, said Ban Ki-Moon.
As Republic of Ireland celebrates its 60th anniversary of the United Nations membership, UN secretary-general met the members of resettled communities from five different countries – Burma (also known as Myanmar), Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria and South Sudan.
While addressing the special event in front of Irish Minister of Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald and many distinguished personalities from United Nations and various organizations at the prestigious Farmleigh House located in the centre of the Phoenix Park, Ban Ki-Moon recalled his childhood during the Korean War when he too had to flee along with his family to seek a haven from the massive destruction of the war.
He recollected, “As we climbed in the rain, I looked back on the only world I know: where I had played, where I had gone to school, where I had lived with my family; all of it was in flames. Our lives went up in smoke.
The world is with you, I am with you.” as he continued reliving his experience of the war and expressing his concern to the ongoing crises in the Mediterranean and in South-east Asia where thousands of Rohingya stranded in Andaman Sea for several weeks and hundreds of them perished after fleeing the persecutions ordained towards Rohingya in Burma.
After the keynote address, he went down to the tables allocated for the individual community invited to the event where he met with members of Rohingya Community Ireland represented by Mohammed Rafique, Mohammed Yasin and Hichael Rashid. Along with Rohingya community around the table were Burmese Karens who too were resettled in Ireland from the eastern state of Burma, Karen.
During the talk, the community expressed the gratitude towards Ban Ki-Moon for his perseverance to continue using “Rohingya” term and speaking out for Rohingya during his visit in Burma despite many Burmese nationalists protested against the usage of the term.
The community also expressed their concern on the current boat crisis and urged to reach a permanent solution by bringing together all parties and countries involved, and to continue pressing hard on the government of Burma like never seen before in order to have a profound change and hope in the lives of Rohingya generations to come, the way he himself found a way out of the Korean War towards one of the world’s most admirable and esteemed positions.
Before the end of the talk, Rohingya Community Ireland successfully handed a letter to the Secretary-General, which gave focuses on the main causes of the plight of Rohingya, the involvement of the government of Burma and extremist organizations, the traps of human traffickers and the recommendations for the permanent solutions for Rohingya.
Rohingya Community Ireland showed the appreciation towards the United Nations and the government of Ireland during the talks with Ban Ki-Moon and Minister Frances Fitzgerald for bringing and helping Rohingya resettled in Ireland despite struggling with the economic crisis, and always standing for “humanity, solidarity and respect for human rights”.
In the second week of May, Republic of Ireland has further affirmed their stand on the side of displaced or persecuted people by announcing to accept 300 of them under the Refugee Resettlement Programme between the period of 2014-16 from a list recommended by UNHCR.