Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has demanded the repatriation of Rohingyas on an urgent basis. He said, “The inaction of the major international powers on this crisis has shocked Bangladesh. However, in spite of limited resources, Bangladesh gave shelter to the refugees considering the humanitarian aspect.
He was speaking at a high-level discussion of international partners on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York.
“I have repeatedly said that they (Rohingya) are citizens of Myanmar. So, they must return to their homeland Myanmar with security and dignity.
He added that the Rohingya crisis has become a matter of concern for regional and international security. Therefore, an urgent proposal needs to be made in this regard and I would like to emphasize that in this case, everything we are doing in Bangladesh has been done on a purely temporary basis.
“The international community must do everything possible to ensure that the Rohingya return to their homeland,” he said. Meanwhile, they themselves want to return to their own country.
At the same time, the Prime Minister demanded that those responsible for the persecution of the minority Rohingya community be brought to justice in order to restore confidence among the aggrieved people about justice and repatriation.
Officials said the meeting was organized as part of Dhaka’s efforts to highlight the crisis in the important general discussions of the UAGA.
The Prime Minister said that since the Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh in droves in 2016, she has consistently presented various specific proposals to the UNGA session for a lasting solution to the crisis. “Our government has maintained bilateral contacts with Myanmar in this regard,” he said.
Sheikh Hasina said, “In the regional context, we have tried to involve the major powers, including China and India, in resolving this crisis.” We have always tried to keep ASEAN more active. In the multilateral field, we have brought the issue to the table through UN resolutions, drawing the attention of various important countries and UN agencies in the world. However, our efforts to repatriate the unfortunate, homeless Myanmar nationals have so far not seen any light. “To date, not a single one of them has been able to return to their homeland,” he said.
Sheikh Hasina said, “Bangladesh has been waiting for the last four years with high hopes that these displaced people will be able to return to their homeland Myanmar safely and with dignity.”
“Nevertheless, our call has been ignored and our expectations remain unfulfilled,” he said. This is the fifth year of the crisis. We still hope for a lasting solution to the Rohingya crisis.
The Prime Minister said, “Many of them are getting involved in criminal activities due to the growing frustration over the lack of progress in repatriation and they are easily falling prey to militant ideology.” Such activities are expected to destabilize the entire region.
Sheikh Hasina wants to see ASEAN’s strong efforts in the current context. “We believe that ASEAN has an important role to play in this,” he said. Given the current situation, their move will greatly affect Myanmar.
Sheikh Hasina said, “We must remember that humanitarian assistance is urgent but it is not a permanent solution. The United Nations and its partners must take clear steps and projects in Myanmar to create a conducive environment for the repatriation and retention of the Rohingya.
The Prime Minister further said, “So far we have not seen any progress in this regard.”
Sheikh Hasina said, “It is important to bring to justice those responsible for persecuting the Rohingya in order to build the confidence of the people who have been forced to flee the country.” “Dhaka strongly supports the ongoing international efforts, especially in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.”
The Prime Minister seeks the strong support of the world for international mechanisms through the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council. “In order to avoid persecution in 2017, we had to start with the massive influx of Rohingyas from the Rakhine state of Myanmar bordering Bangladesh, to save their lives or to close the border,” he said. If the border was closed, they would face ethnic cleansing.
Sheikh Hasina said, “Considering the aspect of humanity, we take steps to save their lives.”
Quoting Bangabandhu, he said, “This struggle of Bangladesh is a symbol of universal struggle for peace and justice.” Therefore, it was very natural that Bangladesh would take a firm stand on the side of the oppressed people of the world. This has been happening since the beginning of Bangladesh. ‘
He said, “Bangladesh has ensured all necessary arrangements for the safe and temporary stay of Rohingyas as repatriation is pending.” Bangladesh has done so despite the limitations of natural resources and land.
Sheikh Hasina said, “The long stay of such a large population in a confined area is having a serious impact on the surrounding environment and ecology.” Various hills and forests have to be cut down to build shelters. Even in the face of the challenges posed by the epidemic coronavirus, we have not forgotten to ensure the safety and welfare of the Rohingya. We firmly believe that unless we are all safe, in fact none of us are safe. We have brought the Rohingya people under the national immunization program. ‘