Local NGOs oppose joint response plan

Dealing with Rohingya crisis

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

The Cox's Bazar CSOs & NGOs Forum, or CCNF, a network of around 50 local NGOs and CSOs working in Cox's Bazar district, and COAST Trust, an NGO working in coastal areas all having a Rohingya response project, held a joint press conference at the National Press Club to criticise the Joint Response Plan 2019 (JRP 2019) for dealing with the Rohingya crisis, reports UNB.
The JRP 2019 was prepared by the Inter Sectoral Coordination Group (ISCG), another umbrella group of similar organisations including international ones working on Rohingya response, that was convened by the International Organisation for Migration, or IOM.
They mentioned that it is far short of the required level of participation of local government and NGOs, that it is not conflict and security sensitive, hardly transparent on aid, and provides very little on the way forward toward localisation.
The press conference was presided over by CCNF Co Chair and Executive Director COAST Trust Mr Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Mr Abu Morshed Chowdhury, another Co Chair and Executive Director PHALS Coxs Bazar read out and explained the position paper. Other speakers of the press conference were Mr Nayeem Gowhar Warha of Disaster Forum, Rafiqul Islam, Director of Federation of NGOs in Bangladesh.
Mostafa Kamal Akhanda, Assitant Director COAST Trust made the welcome address.
The press conference was also attended by Tanvir Ahmed from NIRAPOD.
Abu Morshed Chowdhury said now there are incidents of conflict arising between the refugees and the local community and also there are security concerns from different dimensions but the JRP 2019 is overwhelmingly biased and business as usual to service delivery.
It should give importance to peaceful co-existence and social cohesion.
CCNF and COAST Trust circulated a position paper in the press conference, which outlines 06 specific demands, which are (i) all UN agencies and INGOs must have localisation policies, and they should accommodate the local NGOs first in partnership, (ii) they should also prepare conflict of interest policy for their national staff so that they will not be able to influence the partnership process, (iii) there must be a complaint response mechanism open for all stakeholders, (iv) there should be participation and accountability policy toward the Rohingya, (v) 70 per cent field operation and service staff jobs should be for locals but with competition and quality, and (vi) there should not be any head hunting, all job circulars should be published in Cox's Bazar, there should be an ethical recruitment policy and a common salary framework has to be prepared and followed.