A total of 22 Rohingya leaders and elites representing various political parties and civil society’s organizations and individuals from 15 countries attended the meeting. In addition, Mr. Harn Yawnghwe (Director of Euro-Burma Office and National Reconciliation Program), Professor Surat Horachaikul (Faculty of Political Science in Chulalongkorn University), Dr. Khin Maung (Vice-President of NUPA), Mr. David Taw (NRP/ENC), Mr. David Tharckabaw (NRP/KNU), Mr. Victor Biak Lian (NRP), Ms. Chaleda (Forum-Asia), Mr. Gary Rozema (Burma Relief Centre), Ms. Chris Lewa and other guests and observers were also present in the meeting.
At the opening session of the Workshop, Professor Surat Horachaikul had delivered his welcome speech while Mr. Harn Yawnghwe had presented his keynote speech. Mr. Nurul Islam, President of the Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO), had given a brief overview of the Workshop objectives.
13 papers on Rohingya unity, their issues and problems, their historical position, their culture and civilization, their refugees, discrimination and persecution against them, human rights violations and abuses by both SPDC and non-state actors, were submitted by different presenters and speakers.
On 3rd of August, 2006, after series of debate, frank and open exchange of ideas and opinions, all the participants unanimously reached to an agreement to form the ROHINGYA NATIONAL FORUM (RNF), which is to be an institution without affiliation to any political organization so that its aims and ideals could be more effectively promoted. This historic agreement was named as BANGKOK AGREEMENT. According to the agreement the Rohingya politics shall be based on and/or in agreement with the following principles:
The Consultation deplored the antisocial behavior practiced by some people, and it has been decided that every participant of RNF must have a commitment to refrain from misbehavior and any sort of attack to each other on internet.
A Management Board of the RNF was formed with the following persons:
U Maung Tin (aka) Mohammad Yacoob (Canada)
Mr. AFK Jilani (Bangladesh)
Mr. Abdus Samad (Australia)
Mr. Zaw Min Htut (Japan)
The Secretariat of RNF was formed with the following person:
Mr. Sayed Hussain (Norway)
Mr. Anwar Shah Arkani (Canada)
Rohingya National Forum (RNF) is a common platform and a public forum open to all Rohingyas -- irrespective of their views and political affiliations -- who have common interest to work together in the interest and for the betterment of the Rohingya people. The Forum is not a political party but an organization which will focus on doing research and documentation works to assist the Rohingya people’s struggle for freedom and democracy. The Forum, among others, aims to strengthen the unity among the Rohingya people and also with all other democratic forces of Burma, including other ethnic nationalities. RNF will closely work with the Euro-Burma Office, National Reconciliation Program of the Union of Burma (NRP) and other Burma related organizations.
To achieve its aims and objectives, RNF is going to form some Working Groups after discussion among the members. At present, the following Working Groups are proposed:
Working Group for Constitution Drafting
Working Group for Communication and Information
Working Group for Education and Social Welfare
Working Group for Refugees and Internally Displaced People
Working Group for Historical Research & Culture
Working group for Health
The activities of working groups will be further discussed and debated among the members until a consensus is reached. To be able to discuss and debate, one must be the member of RNF.
This paper was submitted at First Rohingya Consultation: Working together to find a solution, on 2-3 August 2006, Sigha Dum Conference Room, Faculty of Political science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, Organized by Centre for Social Development, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, In cooperation with the National Reconciliation Programme (NRP).