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National Roundtable Dialogue on Safer Access Towards BDRCS’s Humanitarian Action

IR and Communications

May 14, 2018

To strengthen its networking with relevant external stakeholders at the national level, a roundtable discussion titled `National Roundtable Dialogue on Safer Access Towards BDRCS’s Humanitarian Action’ has been organized with the support of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on 14 May 2018 at CIRDAP Auditorium, Dhaka. Total 47 participants from various level of stakeholders participated in the roundtable discussion and shared their opinions on occasion. The list of participants includes -Bangladesh Ansar and VDP, Bangladesh Ansar and VDP HQ, Industrial Police, HQ, Industrial Police, HQ, RAB-2, RAB-3, RAB-4, Dhaka, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), BNP, JCD, BNP, BSMMU, BNP, AFD, Air HQ, Air Ops, Army, Fire Service and Civil Defense (FSCD), FSCD, MoHA, SATV & CARB, Associated Press(AP), Prothom Alo, BTV, National Human Rights Commission, BDPC, IFRC, ICRC, Red Crescent Youth and BDRCS.

The roundtable discussion was inaugurated by Mr. Hafiz Ahmed Mazumdar, Chairman, Bangladesh Red Crescent Society. He says – `Like all of the participants presented here, we BDRCS helps the people when there are any emergencies in Bangladesh. We have our movement partner IFRC ICRC here to help us but we need to you all to support us during the emergencies because there are some places where we can’t get access without your permission. If you all can help us, we can serve everywhere according to our humanitarian mandates, as we are for everyone.’  

Along with him, Mr. Feroz Salah Uddin, Secretary-General, BDRCS also spoken to the roundtable participants to be more accessible for humanity. He said `For Bangladesh OSV still it’s a new term but internationally it’s a known to all.  And in this roundtable, we will share and discuss more on it. Its an application tool. The RCRC movement was born from a war and the first appeal of the movement was to get the access to help the wounded people despite of their parties and political beliefs.’ He also makes an example of a violent situation where he was stopped by the police in aboard for not having necessary training on serving in an emergency situation. He interlinked the situation mentioning that the BDRCS have their volunteer skilled human resources and all the law enforcement team is need to allow them in restricted situations and places.

Mr. Ikhtiyar Aslanov, HoD, ICRC and Mr. Abdul Latif Baki, DHoD, ICRC were also present on the occasion. In the speech, HoD ICRC mentioned, `This event is important for BDRCS and also for ICRC. Sometimes we, stakeholders, become confused with UN and Other RC organization. The UN has 3 mandates and we, RCRC movement partners, have seven principals. But in the moment of crisis, there’s no chance of understanding who is or what. That is confusing. Regardless the color, sex, race etc. we stood beside the humanity, During the earthquake in Bangladesh, we worked together. Here we are talking about distinguishing between parties, people etc. which is sensitive.

How do we act as a neutral organization? It is important.  Now I am talking about organizational factors. Where govt. is also included. At 2016 theirs an incident in Bangladesh and helped regardless the political parties. We don’t feel like to make headlines in the newspaper. We are here to do humanitarian activities. Please give us access. All this we need to do.

We can train and prepare our collogues. We want to hear from you. As a policeman, as a govt. official, we want to hear from you to understand what you can do for us and we also want to know how we can do for you to have safer access.  All we can do 50 % but you all can do the rest 50 %. So, tell us.’

The roundtable discussion was moderated by Mr. Muhammad Saidur Rahman, Director, BDPC. He addressed the audience to make questions about BDRCS humanitarian actions in Bangladesh and also to find a way out to empower BDRCS to provide emergency humanitarian support during the emergencies whenever its needed without any hassle. 

Director Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and Focal Person, Safer Access Mr. M. A. Halim presented the concept of the discussion `RCRC Movement, Roles of BDRCS and Safer Access to humanitarian Actions’. In his presentation, he explained the BDRCS principals and mandates mostly related to humanitarian action in particular OSV context. He also mentioned four (4) different cases of BDRCS officers and volunteers while serving victims of violence/conflict contexts. In a conclusion he says – building awareness among mass people may help us to get safer access as sometimes wounded political peoples are also refusing Red Crescent while providing first aid. They don’t know Red Crescent logo. So, campaigns on Red Cross Red Crescent emblems can be useful.