UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


2nd International Conference on the Rohingya Crisis in Comparative Perspective

03 December 2020–04 December 2020, 10:00 am–4:15 pm

Rohingya camp

This two-day virtual conference will bring together scholars, activists, policy makers, humanitarian workers and donors to share their evidence-based findings and actionable experience on the Rohingya crisis and humanitarian actions undertaken by national and international authorities.

This event is free.

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Dr Bayes Ahmed – UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction

In July 2019, academics, policymakers and experts have raised their voice on the plights and human rights of Rohingya refugees at the UCL-organised first conference on the Rohingya Crisis in Comparative Perspective. In 2020, one year down the road, and three years after the exodus of Rohingyas from the Northeast Rakhine state of Myanmar, it is more important than ever to understand: how vulnerable are the Rohingyas now? The second International Conference aims to comprehend what has been changed in the last three years in order to reduce the vulnerabilities of Rohingyas and improve the potentialities of their repatriation to Myanmar and a durable solution of the crisis.

Earlier in 2020, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued four provisional measures to prevent violence against the Rohingya population in Myanmar and it directed Myanmar to undertake all necessary measures to prevent the intent of any genocidal acts against the Rohingyas. It is observed as a landmark statement issued by the highest international court to uphold the rights and protection of Rohingya population in Myanmar and other countries, including: Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Thailand and others. However, it has not yet translated into any actionable initiatives from Myanmar to facilitate the repatriation of Rohingyas.

Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, houses the largest refugee camp with over one million Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar district. In May 2020, camps faced a Coronavirus pandemic, which led the healthcare system running under tremendous pressure. The Government of Bangladesh, international and national health support organisations scaled up their operation to control the situation in this unprecedented time of COVID-19.

With that backdrop, the two-day virtual conference will bring together scholars, activists, policy makers, humanitarian workers and donors to share their evidence-based findings and actionable experience on the plights and vulnerabilities of Rohingyas and development activities undertaken by national and international authorities. Presenters will showcase their work, which will be interdisciplinary in nature and will cover a range of topics especially targeting (but not limited to) the following:

  • COVID-19 challenges in the camps
  • Natural hazards perspective in the camps
  • Rohingya case studies from Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia
  • Comparative perspectives of refugee case studies in the contemporary time
  • Rohingya crisis and Bangladesh
  • In conversation session with Rohingya activists
  • International Court of Justice (ICJ) and justice issues
  • Rohingya crisis: documentary, photo exhibition and arts

Conference programme (in GMT (Greenwich Mean Time))

Day 1: Thursday, 3rd December 2020

09:30–10:00 Zoom login
10:00–10:15 Welcome speech – Prof Peter Sammonds and Prof Imtiaz Ahmed
10:15–11:15 Inaugural Session and Keynote Speech by Mr Robert Chatterton Dickson, British High Commissioner to the People's Republic of Bangladesh (Moderator: Prof Imtiaz Ahmed)
11:15–11:30  Tea break
11:30–12:30Panel discussion on COVID-19 challenges in the camps (Moderator: Prof Amena Mohsin)
12:30–13:30 Lunch break
13:30–14:30    Panel discussion on Natural Hazards Perspective (Moderator: Prof Peter Sammonds)
14:30–15:30   Rohingya case studies from Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia (Moderator: Dr Kazi Fahmida Farzana)
15:30–15:45 Tea break
15:45–17:00 Panel discussion on Human Rights and Refugee Advocacy: Activist Perspectives (Moderator: Dr Jessica Field)
Day 2: Friday, 4th December 2020
09:30–10:00Zoom login
10:00–11:15Panel discussion on Rohingya crisis and Bangladesh (Moderator: Dr Md Touhidul Islam)
11:15–11:30  Tea break
11:30–12:30In conversation with Rohingya activists (Moderator: Dr Niloy Biswas)
12:30–13:30Lunch break
13:30–14:30Panel discussion on ICJ and Justice Issues (Moderator: Professor Imtiaz Ahmed)
14:30–14:45    Tea break
14:45–15:45Rohingya Crisis: documentary, photo exhibition and arts (Moderator: Dr Bayes Ahmed)
15:45–16:15 Closing remarks by Ms Saida Muna Tasneem, High Commissioner for Bangladesh to the United Kingdom, Prof Peter Sammonds and Prof Imtiaz Ahmed

Find out more about the speakers and the conference schedule.

Sessions – Day 1

Inaugural Session and Keynote Speech by Mr Robert Chatterton Dickson, British High Commissioner to the People's Republic of Bangladesh (Moderator: Prof Imtiaz Ahmed)

Robert Chatterton Dickson

Robert Chatterton Dickson has been British High Commissioner in Dhaka since March 2019, responsible for representing the United Kingdom and leading across the British Government’s priorities in Bangladesh.

From September 2018 to January 2019 Robert was Additional Director Western Balkans Programme in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. From August 2015 to August 2018 he served as a Director in the National Security Secretariat (NSS) in the Cabinet Office, heading the Secretariat team supporting the National Security Council (NSC) and the National Security Adviser. He was also responsible for coordination of policy on a range of international issues, and had lead responsibility in NSS for the cross-Government Conflict, Stability and Security Fund and Prosperity Fund.

Robert’s earlier FCO experience included serving in the British Embassies in Washington (as Press Officer then Private Secretary to the Ambassador) and Manila (as Political and Press Officer). He has also worked in the FCO in London on issues including Iraq, NATO, defence exports, UN Peacekeeping and nuclear arms control.

Masud Bin Momen

Ambassador Masud Bin Momen is the Foreign Secretary (Senior Secretary) of Bangladesh. He joined as Foreign Secretary on 31 December 2019. As a career diplomat, Ambassador Masud has long been serving in different capacities at the Headquarters and Bangladesh’s Missions abroad.  Prior to his appointment as the Foreign Secretary, he had been Bangladesh’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations since 2015. Before that, he served as Bangladesh’s Ambassador to Japan from 2012 to 2015. He also served as Ambassador to Italy and Permanent Representative to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP) and International Fund for Agricultural Development from 2008 to 2012. Ambassador Masud served at the Headquarters in different capacities. From 2006 to 2008, he was the Director-General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dhaka and was responsible for matters related to South Asia, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Human Rights and the United Nations.

Imtiaz Ahmed

Imtiaz Ahmed is Professor of International Relations and Director, Centre for Genocide Studies, University of Dhaka. He is also currently a Visiting Professor at the Sagesse University, Beirut. Professor Ahmed has authored, co-authored, or edited 26 books. His recent publications include the following edited books: University of Dhaka: Making Unmaking Remaking (with Iftekhar Iqbal) (Dhaka: Prothoma Prokashon, 2016); Genocide and Mass Violence: Politics of Singularity (Dhaka: Centre for Genocide Studies, University of Dhaka, 2019); and Women, Veiling and Politics (Dhaka: University Press Limited, 2020). Professor Ahmed’s forthcoming book is: Civil Society, State, and Democratic Futures in Bangladesh (Dhaka: Prothoma Prokashon, i.p.).

Panel discussion on COVID-19 challenges in the camps (Moderator: Prof Amena Mohsin)

Meghna Guhathakurta

Dr. Meghna Guhathakurta taught International Relations at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh from 1984 to 2006. She is currently Executive Director of Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB) a research support organized based in Dhaka, which specializes in participatory action research with marginalized communities. Dr. Guhathakurta graduated from the University of Dhaka and received her Ph.D from the University of York, UK. in Politics. Her field of specialization has broadly been international development, gender relations and South Asian politics. She is well published in migration trends in Partition histories, peace-building in post conflict societies and minority rights in South Asia. She is also Associate Editor of the Journal of Social Studies published from the Centre for Social Studies in Dhaka.

Meghna was formerly Member, National Human Rights Commission, Bangladesh. She is currently advisor to the International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission, and has been project coordinator of RIB’s project in the registered Rohingya refugee camps as implementing partner of UNHCR from 2011 to 2015 and currently leading two projects with host communities in Cox’s Bazar.. She co-edited The Bangladesh Reader and has several publications on the above issues in national and international journals.

Sara Hossain

Sara Hossain is a barrister practicing in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, mainly in the areas of constitutional, public interest and family law. She is a partner at the law firm of Dr. Kamal Hossain and Associates, and serves pro bono as the Honorary Executive Director of the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust. She is a member of the Board of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, and associated with several international civil society initiatives (the Advisory Board of the Open Society Justice Initiative, the Advisory Committee of the Women’s International Coalition on Gender Justice (WICG) the Bureau of South Asians for Human Rights, as and the International Commission on the Chittagong Hill Tracts).

In 2016, Sara was appointed by the President of the UN Human Rights Council to serve as a member of the Group of Experts on Accountability in the DPRK, and from July 2018 to March 2019 as a member of the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Gaza Protests of 2018.  Sara also participated in the Task Force on Justice, convened by Pathfinders International, focusing on SDG 16.

Sara ran the South Asia Programme at INTERIGHTS from 1997 to 2003. She was a founding board member of the South Asia Women’s Fund (now the Women’s Fund Asia) and served as a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists.

Sara was educated at Wadham College, Oxford (MA (Hons) 1988), called to the Bar from Middle Temple (1989), enrolled in the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh (1992) and then in the Appellate Division in 2008.

She has received awards from the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First), the US State Department (Women of Courage), ‘Ananya’ magazine and been selected as a World Economic Forum Fellow and an Asia 21 Fellow.

Asif Munier

Asif Munier is development professional, human rights activist and cultural activist in Bangladesh. He has about 27 years of work experience with national-international NGOs and UN agencies in Bangladesh. Since 2016 he has been working as a freelance consultant for project development and assessment on human mobility to and from Bangladesh. Asif has delivered training sessions and talks on migration as well as on refugees for various agencies in Bangladesh. He is also a media commentator on migration, human trafficking and refugees. Facilitating community consultations to class room workshop sessions is one of his expertise. Asif is also an expert on Theatre for Development.

He acquired his MA on Public Administration from the University of Dhaka in 1992 and a MA on Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK in 2012.

A.K.M. Taifur Rahman

Dr. A.K.M. Taifur Rahman is Public health expert and currently holds the position of Executive Director of Health Management BD Foundation. He is an Adjunct Faculty of Department of Public Health, North South University Bangladesh. After his MBBS he did Masters in Clinical Social Work under Dhaka University and Masters of Public Health from North South University. Dr. Rahman has published extensively in high-impact journals and another two papers are close to publish.  His research interests are maternal, communicable and non-communicable diseases and palliative health in developing countries including Bangladesh.

As Executive Director of Health Management BD foundation he is currently concentrate on Rohingya refugees (Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals in Bangladesh) for implementing various projects; specially basic health, age friendly space and palliative care, family planning, mental health and psychosocial support and gender based violence.

He is also working on the super cyclone Amphan affected people in the coastal area of Bangladesh. Working on shelter, wash and food security for the cyclone affected people.

Amena Mohsin

Amena Mohsin teaches in the Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka. She graduated from the same department and later received her MA and PhD degrees from the University of Hawaii, USA and Cambridge University, UK. Amena has received several national and international fellowships, which include the East-West Center Graduate Fellowship, CIDA International Fellowship, Commonwealth Staff Fellowship, SSRC Fellowship and Freedom Foundation Fellowship. She writes on rights, gender and minority, State, Democracy, Civil-Military relations, borders and human security issues. She is the author of “The Politics of Nationalism: The Case of Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh” (UPL, 1997), “The Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh: On The Difficult Road To Peace” (Lynn Rienner Publishers, 2002), “Ethnic Minorities of Bangladesh: Some Reflections the Saontals and Rakhaines” (Programme for Research on Poverty Alleviation, 2002), “Women and Militancy: South Asian Complexities”, edited (with Imtiaz Ahmed), (Dhaka, University Press Limited. 2011), Conflict and Partition, CHT, Bangladesh, (with Delwar Hossain) SAGE, 2015). Of the Nation Born, edited with Hameeda Hossain, Zubaan, Delhi, 2016.

Panel discussion on Natural Hazards Perspective (Moderator: Prof Peter Sammonds)

A. S. M. Maksud Kamal

Professor A. S. M. Maksud Kamal of Disaster Science and Management department of Dhaka University (DU) joined as pro-vice-chancellor (academic) of the university on 25 June after he was appointed to the post. Maksud Kamal is the founder chairman of the department of disaster science and management and was the dean of the faculty of earth and environmental sciences of the university. He joined the Dhaka University as a lecturer in 2000 and was promoted to professor in 2010. He received his PhD in engineering geology from Tokyo Institute of Technology. Since then, he has been intensively engaged with classroom teaching, academic research and development expertise over multiple sectors through consultation and professional service work.

Rashedur M. Rahman

Rashedur M. Rahman is working as a Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering Department in North South University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of Calgary, Canada and Masters from University of Manitoba, Canada in 2007 and 2003 respectively. He has authored more than 150 peer reviewed research papers in journals and conference proceedings in the area of parallel, distributed, grid and cloud computing, knowledge and data engineering. His current research interest is in data science, data replication on grid, cloud load characterization, optimization of cloud resource placements, computational finance, deep learning, etc. He has been serving on the editorial board of a number of journals in the knowledge and data engineering field. He also serves as a member of the organizing committee of different international conferences.

Sebastian Kaminski

Sebastian is a Structural Engineer in Arup’s Specialist Technology and Research Team. He has significant experience in appropriate and sustainable low-cost housing and schools in the developing world, with a focus on local and traditional technologies and materials. He has provided technical support and in-country training courses for the post-disaster Shelter Clusters in Bangladesh, Ecuador and Nepal. Sebastian is a specialist on the structural use of bamboo, especially for housing, and has been working closely with NGOs in Cox’s Bazar to improve the strength and durability of the bamboo shelters in the Rohingya refugee camps.

Akhtar Alam

Dr Akhtar Alam is a research fellow in the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction and Assistant Professor (on-leave) in the University of Kashmir. He works for the “Resilient futures for the Rohingya refugees” project funded by the Royal Society. His core interest is spatial science, exploring earth surface processes and interplay of natural and social environment. Furthermore, he is interested to assess the spatio-temporal dynamics of earth surface systems; integrate qualitative and quantitative data for decision making, and understand the interplay of natural and social processes.

Peter Sammonds

Professor Peter Sammonds leads the UCl Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction. He works at the interface of natural and social sciences and his research and knowledge exchange is on natural hazard risks, disasters and recovery. He has worked on earthquake mechanics, volcanoes and ice physics in the Arctic, and on research council, British Academy and Royal Society-funded projects on Increasing Resilience to Environmental Hazards in Border Conflict Zones and Resilience Futures for the Rohingya Refugees. He has advised the UK research councils on the increasing resilience to natural hazards programme; been a member of EEFIT Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation teams, contributing to inter-disciplinary reports on disaster, taken up widely by government for policy advice; and been a Commissioner on the UCL–Lancet Commission on Migration and Health, 2017–18, whose report has been influential. He is currently the Gender and Intersectionality Ambassador for the UKRI network+ GRRIPP project led by the IRDR Centre for Gender and Disaster.

Rohingya case studies from Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia (Moderator: Dr Kazi Fahmida Farzana)

Morad Alsahafi

Morad Alsahafi (PhD, University of Auckland) is an Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia. His research interests are in applied linguistics and sociolinguistics, particularly heritage language maintenance and education, bilingualism, language planning (in local contexts), and language teaching and learning. He has most recently published in International journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, and the Internet Journal of Language, Culture and Society. His current research focuses on issues related to heritage/community languages in Saudi Arabia.

Kazi Fahmida Farzana

Kazi Fahmida Farzana is an Assistant Professor in international relations at the University of Sharjah, UAE. Her teaching and research interests include nationalism and ethnic conflicts, diplomacy, forced migration and statelessness with an emphasis on South and Southeast Asia. She is currently a British Academy Award Holder (duration Sept. 2018 to June 2021) due to her international research collaboration (as a member) with University College London (ULC), in London on a project titled: “Rohingya Journeys of Violence and Resilience in Bangladesh and its Neighbours: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives”. As a peace and conflict specialist, Dr. Farzana has published not only several articles in prominent journals in her field, but also book chapters with leading publishers around the world. She also has an authored book titled, Memories of Burmese Rohingya Refugees: Contested Identity and Belonging, New York, US: Palgrave Macmillan (2017).

Aishwarya Pandit

Aishwarya Pandit is an Associate Professor at Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University. She graduated with a first class BA (Hons) History, from Miranda House University of Delhi in 2008 and pursued a Master’s degree in the History of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, London in (2008-2009). She joined University of Cambridge in 2010 and finished her PhD in 2015 on the topic “From United Provinces to Uttar Pradesh- Heartland Politics 1947-1970”. Her current research project explores the issue of waqf and evacuee property in detail especially the change in property laws in the 1970s and 1980s. She has taught two courses as a Visiting Faculty at the Indian Institute of Management, Indore in 2016-2017. She is also a guest columnist for The Sunday Guardian Newspaper.

Bulbul Siddiqi

Dr Siddiqi is an Associate Professor in Anthropology and Sociology at the Department of Political Science and Sociology at North South University (NSU). He is also the Director of Confucius Institute at NSU. Dr Siddiqi completed doctoral research from Cardiff University in Anthropology in 2014. He also received MA in Global Citizenship, Identities and Human Rights from the University of Nottingham, UK. Dr Siddiqi has a track record of publishing books and journals from the reputed national and international publishers. His recent book titled, ‘Becoming Good Muslim: The Tablighi Jamaat in the UK and Bangladesh,’ was published by Springer Nature that was based on his doctoral research. At present, he is researching various aspects of the Rohingya crisis and working in a number of book projects, including the Rohingya crisis. His areas of interests are Rohingya Crisis, Poverty and Development Discourse, Piety Movement, Sociological Perspectives of Radicalisation, Cultural Understanding of Health.

Panel discussion Human Rights and Refugee Advocacy: Activist Perspectives (Moderator: Dr Jessica Field)

Ali Johar

Ali Johar (Maung Thein Shwe) is a Rohingya Youth Leader based in India. Ali has volunteered as a medical community service provider with Bosco-UNHCR in Delhi since 2013. He is also the founder of the Rohingya Literacy Program, a mentor for the Genius Burmese Rohingya Youth Club and a “Global Youth Peace Ambassador” recognised by the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India. In recognition of his work towards peace and development, in 2017, Ali was awarded South Asian People’s Choice Youth Leader Award by International Youth Committee. He was born in Rakhine (formally known as Arakan) in Myanmar. At the age of 10, Ali fled from the Buthidaung Township of Rakhine state in Myanmar due to communal conflict and took refuge in Bangladesh. He completed his secondary schooling in Bangladesh; however, he fled to India in 2012 due to insecurity in Bangladesh. Today he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delhi and intends to become a human rights expert to help his people.

Lamees Hafeez

Lamees Hafeez has worked in international development since 2008 starting in campaigns and advocacy. Inspired by a placement in the Philippines, she gained a Masters in Humanitarianism and Conflict response from the University of Manchester, after which she delved immediately into working on the Syria Response with Syria Relief, a UK based diaspora charity. Lamees was based in Turkey, Iraq and Jordan over 5 years establishing operations and working on the cross-border response as Programmes coordinator, Partnership Manager, Acting Head of Mission and Deputy Country Director for a number of local and international  organisations  including Concern Worldwide. She returned to the UK at the end of 2017 as General Manager of the Watan Foundation. She now works as the Operations Manager at the Muslim Council of Britain which is a diverse UK Umbrella body focusing on representation, advocacy and capacity building of British Muslim communities, focusing, in the current cotext, particularly on the rise of Islamophobia and its impact.

Rahima Begum

Rahima Begum is an Activist, Researcher & Founding Director of International Human Rights Organisation Restless Beings. Rahima is the driving force for numerous human rights campaigns ranging from her work with survivors of 'bride kidnapping' in Kyrgyzstan leading to national legislative changes, to championing the rights of the Rohingya across South and South East Asia for a decade. Her extensive experience in designing and implementing research methodologies which place human dignity and agency at the centre (with a focus on women and children) - has contributed to vital advocacy efforts made by various organisations whom she has consulted for.

Jessica Field

Dr Jessica Field is a lecturer in Humanitarian Studies in the UCl Institute for Riosk and Disaster Reduction. She is an interdisciplinary scholar and her research focuses on past and present humanitarian crises in Asia. Recent publications have examined disaster management and refugee protection in India and the conflict-disaster nexus in the Philippines. She advises on humanitarian policy and is a member of UNHCR India’s Research and Advocacy in Action Group and an Advisory Group member for Save the Children India’s new Risk Vulnerability and Resilience Centre of Excellence in Delhi. She is co-investigator on a British Academy grant, "Rohingya Journeys of Violence and Resilience in Bangladesh and its Neighbours: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives".

Sessions – Day 2

Panel discussion on Rohingya crisis and Bangladesh (Moderator: Dr Md Touhidul Islam)

Niloy Ranjan Biswas

Dr. Niloy Ranjan Biswas is an Associate Professor of the Department of International Relations at the University of Dhaka. In 2016, he completed his Ph.D. in International Politics from City, University of London. He was a recipient of Fulbright Fellowship (2010-12) to conduct his MA in Security Policy Studies at The George Washington University, Washington DC. In September 2017, he successfully completed the nine-month-long United States Institute of Peace (USIP)-Resolve Fellowship to conduct a study on community policing and its challenges in preventing violent extremism. His current research interests include refugees, state, security governance, and South Asian contributions to United Nations peace support missions. His most recent articles are published in National Security (VIF), Asian Journal of Comparative Politics, The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, International Peacekeeping (Taylor & Francis), Journal of International Peacekeeping (Brill) and Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies Journal.

Mohammad Atique Rahman

Mohammad Atique Rahman is currently working as an Assistant Professor at the Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka. He joined at the department in 2010 as a Lecturer. He completed his graduate degree in the department of International Relations, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2006. In 2013, he was awarded a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) fellowship to study Master of Law (LLM) in Intellectual Property in the Turin School of Law, University of Turin, Italy. Prior to joining Dhaka University in 2010, he worked as a Research Associate/Lecturer at the Institute of Governance Studies (IGS) at BRAC University for a period of two years. He participated in Study of United States Institute (SUSI) on “Grand Strategy in Context: Institutions, People and the Making of U.S. Foreign Policy” summer programme in 2014 at Bard College, New York in the United States of America. He is currently pursuing his PhD degree in the Department of Conflict and Development, Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, University of Ghent, Belgium. He published articles in peer reviewed journal namely BIISS Journal, BILIA-Journal of International Affairs, Journal of Asiatic Society (humanities), Dhaka University-Social Science Review on intellectual property rights, TRIPS, foreign policy and governance issues. He also published book chapters in edited volumes which were published by UPL-Dhaka, Bangladesh. His current area of PhD research is resource and space materialities in a transformed society.

Md. Touhidul Islam

Dr. Md. Touhidul Islam is an Associate Professor of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh from where he graduated too. He afterwards completed an MA in Peace Studies and PhD from the University of Bradford UK with the prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship. He was also trained on International Mediation and Global South by the Pontifical Catholic University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As an academic, Dr. Islam’s interests are on conflict and conflict analysis, armament and disarmament, conflict prevention, resolution and transformation, peacebuilding, United Nations system. He has published a good number of academic articles on issues related to conflict resolution, peace agreements, stabilization, post-conflict peacebuilding, environmental concerns, climate change, fragility and potentials of conflicts, illicit small arms and their impacts on peace and security etc. Recently, he has developed an interest in forced migration, host-guest relations, and tolerance and resilience issues.

Tanzina Rahman

Tanzina Rahman is a young researcher. She has a Bachelors and a Master’s degree from the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her areas of interests are refugee and migratory patterns, and political and societal intolerance.

In conversation with Rohingya activists (Moderator: Dr Niloy Biswas)

Miwako Hosoda

Professor Miwako Hosoda is the Vice President and Professor of Seisa University, Japan. She graduated from the Department of Sociology, University of Tokyo, in 1992, and received her MA and PhD in Sociology from the University of Tokyo.  After working as a research fellow for the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, she studied at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and the Harvard School of Public Health. Prof. Hosoda has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Japan Foundation of Cancer Research. She was elected President of the Asia Pacific Sociological Association and President of RN (Sociology of Health) East Asia Sociological Association. In 2010 she was elected to the Board of ISA RC15 (Sociology of Health) and in 2018 to the position of President. Prof. Hosoda conducts research on the sociology of health, bioethics, and environmental ethics. 

Zaw Min Htut

Zaw Min Htut, President of Burmese Rohingya Association in Japan (BRAJ) was born and raised in Maungdaw, Rakhine State. He earned B.Sc (Hons) from Myanmar prestigious Yangon University in 1995. Due to his participation at University Student protest against Myanmar military junta in 1996, he had to flee his home country and reached Japan to seek asylum where he is still struggling to promote genuine democracy, peace, equality and human rights for all especially Rohingya minority. He joined Burmese Rohingya Association in Japan (BRAJ) in 1999 and became its President in January 2001. His various activities for the promotion of human rights was recognized by US State Department and nominated and one of the three Finalists forHuman Rights Defender Awards” in 2012. His human rights promotion campaign network is extensive in Japan and beyond its border to native Myanmar as well as other peace-loving countries.

Hla Myint

Dr. Hla Myint is an Australian educated academic, who is a senior member of Arakan Rohingya National Organisation and President of the Rohingya Intellectual Community Association of Australia. Dr. Myint works as an academic both in Australia and United States of America. Dr.  Myint is heavily engaged with both International Rohingya advocacy and Australian Rohingya movement which campaigns to end grave abuses of human rights of defenceless Rohingya People in Burma. Several prominent figures from across all spectrum of society in the world work with Dr. Hla Myint to strengthen the bonds between the International Community and the Rohingya Community in the world. Dr. Hla Myint is the President of Rohingya Intellectual Community Australia and Chair of Foreign Affairs of Arakan Rohingya National Organisation. Dr. Myint has participated several national and International conferences in relation to the plight of Rohingya.

Yasmin Ullah

Yasmin Ullah is a Rohingya woman and activist. She was born in the township of Buthidaung in Rakhine state before fleeing to Thailand in 1995 along with her parents. She remained a stateless refugee in Thailand until 2011 – when she migrated to Canada. Yasmin served as the President of Rohingya Human Rights Network, a non-profit group led by activists across Canada that advocates and raises public awareness of the gross human rights violations against the Rohingya community. She hopes to bring attention to the socioeconomic incentives of genocide, amplify the voices of Rohingya women, highlight the intergenerational trauma that persists within the population, and mobilise the international community to actively condemn and combat the ongoing genocide.

Panel discussion on ICJ and Justice Issues (Moderator: Professor Imtiaz Ahmed)

Imtiaz Ahmed

Imtiaz Ahmed is Professor of International Relations and Director, Centre for Genocide Studies, University of Dhaka. He is also currently a Visiting Professor at the Sagesse University, Beirut. Professor Ahmed has authored, co-authored, or edited 26 books. His recent publications include the following edited books: University of Dhaka: Making Unmaking Remaking (with Iftekhar Iqbal) (Dhaka: Prothoma Prokashon, 2016); Genocide and Mass Violence: Politics of Singularity (Dhaka: Centre for Genocide Studies, University of Dhaka, 2019); and Women, Veiling and Politics (Dhaka: University Press Limited, 2020). Professor Ahmed’s forthcoming book is: Civil Society, State, and Democratic Futures in Bangladesh (Dhaka: Prothoma Prokashon, i.p.).

Benoit Préfontaine

Benoit Préfontaine is the High Commissioner of Canada in Bangladesh, in Dhaka.

Arsalan Suleman

M. Arsalan Suleman is a counsel in Foley Hoag’s International Litigation & Arbitration Practice. His practice focuses on representing sovereign States in international disputes, including before the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, UN treaty bodies, U.S. courts, and other tribunals and dispute resolution forums. He primarily advises sovereign States and State-owned companies in Africa, the Middle East, and Central, South and Southeast Asia.

Shahidul Haque

Shahidul Haque is a Senior Fellow at the North South University, Bangladesh and also an advisor on migration and humanitarian policy at IOM, Dhaka. He was the Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh from January 2013 to December 2019. He was also a director for migration policy and IOM relations at Geneva from 2009 to 2012. He has co-authored a book titled “Migration Myth in Policy and Practice” (Springer, 2020). He received IOM Director General’s Award in 2005. He has chaired in the Global Forum for Migration and Development in 2015 and 2016. Mr Haque has also been extensively engaged in negotiations associated with the Rohingya. He has led Bangladesh side of the Bangladesh-Myanmar Joint Working Group on the Repatriation of Displaced Myanmar Nationals from Bangladesh. He has also chaired Bangladesh National Task Force on Undocumented Myanmar Nationals from 2013 to 2019.

Rohingya Crisis: documentary, photo exhibition and arts (Moderator: Dr Bayes Ahmed)

Edward Lawrenson

Edward Lawrenson is a Scottish filmmaker and writer based in London. His films have played at a number of festivals, including Sundance, BFI London Film Festival, Cinéma du réel, True/False, Open City; and cinemas, including the Museum of the Moving Image in New York and London’s ICA. He has also made radio documentaries for BBC Radio 4. Lawrenson’s 2014 documentary Abandoned Goods (codirected with Pia Borg) won the Golden Leopard for Best International Short at the Locarno Film Festival and he was named as one of Filmmaker Magazine‘s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2015. His 2018 Uppland premiered at Cinema du réel and has played, among other festivals and venues, the Venice Architectural Biennale, First Look at Momi and the ICA; it is distributed in the US by Grasshopper Film. He is a Senior Lecturer in Filmmaking at the Kingston School of Art, Kingston University.

Mahmud Rahman

Mahmud Rahman, a documentary photographer, mostly works with development agencies alongside his self-assigned projects on marginalized communities. His major work includes rural people in their surroundings, Bangladeshi women, children in difficult circumstances, trafficking of women and children, communities on the fringes and indigenous people. Mahmud uses his findings into visual advocacy campaigns raising awareness through photo exhibitions and visual presentations in participatory discussions (community exposures) with selected groups in rural and urban areas. He has been working on the Rohingya exodus since 2017 and published two photo albums on this displacement issue.

Closing remarks

Saida Muna Tasneem

Ms Saida Muna Tasneem arrived to London in November 2018 to take up her appointment as High Commissioner for Bangladesh to the Court of St. James's. she has taken up responsibility as Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK, Ireland and Liberia on 30th November 2018. She has also been appointed as Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to the IMO. Prior to this, Ms Tasneem was the Bangladesh Ambassador to Thailand and Cambodia and Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to the UNESCAP from 2014-2018. Back home, she headed the United Nations Wing as well as the Director General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2010-2014. She also served as DG (External Publicity) of the Ministry in 2009. Earlier Ms Tasneem served as Minister (Political and Press) at the Bangladesh High Commission in London and as Deputy Head of Mission and Counsellor at the Bangladesh Permanent Mission to the United Nation in New York. Ms Tasneem also served in different capacities in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs including in the UN, South Asia, SAARC, BIMSTEC, Administration, Middle East and Americas and the Pacific Wings. 

Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP

The Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP is a British politician who served as Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition from 2015 to 2020. He has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Islington North since 1983.

Conference organiser

Bayes Ahmed

Dr Bayes Ahmed is Lecturer in Risk and Disaster Science in the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction. His background includes research into the field of disaster risk reduction (DRR), conflict and migration, climate change adaptation, community vulnerability and resilience, and climate justice. He works in the intersection between conflict and disaster with a vision to help improving the living standards of forced migrants and stateless population. He teaches quantitative and qualitative research methods, application of geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing in disaster science, risk-sensitive land use planning, and landslides. He is passionate about working with grass-root people to understand their disaster vulnerabilities and producing effective policy recommendations to address their problems. He dreams of a world full of peace, prosperity and happiness.

Acknowledgement: This conference is organised by Dr Bayes Ahmed at the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction (IRDR) in collaboration with the Centre for Genocide Studies (CGS) at the University of Dhaka

This conference is funded by the British Academy as part of the project, “Rohingya Journeys of Violence and Resilience in Bangladesh and its Neighbours: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives” (Award Reference: SDP2\100094), supported under the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).