10 July, 2017

Persuade Myanmar to take back Rohingyas, PM asks international community

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged the international community, including the UNHCR, to persuade Myanmar to take back Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh.
In a meeting with visiting United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, at the PM's Jatiya Sangsad Office last evening, the premier also said the prolonged refugee problem can only be solved by ensuring a "sustainable repatriation" of the Myanmar refugees to their homeland.
"Myanmar should create a congenial atmosphere for the repatriation of its refugees from Bangladesh," PM's Press Secretary, Ihsanul Karim, quoted the premier as saying while briefing reporters, BSS reported. 
The prime minister said the Myanmar refugee problem has created pressure on the socioeconomic condition of the overpopulated Bangladesh.
She said her government has identified some islands for rehabilitation of the Myanmar refugees and planned to build necessary infrastructures such as shelters, schools and hospitals for them.
Hasina said Bangladesh had an insurgency problem in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region, but the problem was ultimately solved through bilateral discussions.
"We brought back our nationals who took refuge in India," she said.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees assured Bangladesh of extending all possible help to solve the refugee problem.
Filippo Grandi expressed immense gratitude to Bangladesh for its sacrifice by giving shelter to a huge number of Myanmar refugees.
"Bangladesh needs full appreciation and recognition for the sacrifice it is making for the Rohingya refugees," he said.
PM's Principal Secretary, Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, and UNHCR Country Representative in Bangladesh, Shinji Kubo, were present on the occasion.


Our diplomatic correspondent reports that the visiting head of the UN refugee agency will visit the Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar today, to observe the plight of Myanmar's Muslim minority, who fled to Bangladesh due to persecution.
Filippo Grandi, arrived in Dhaka on Saturday, on a three-day trip met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal yesterday. He also met Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali on Saturday, to discuss the refugee situation.
During the meeting, the foreign minister urged the UNHCR to ask the government of Myanmar to take “meaningful measures” and ensure the return of all Myanmar nationals staying in Bangladesh.
Earlier, Grandi visited Myanmar and met top government leaders, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. He also visited Rakhine state and met with displaced Muslims in Sittwe's Dar Paing camp and Maungdaw, and urged Myanmar to grant citizenship to the Rohingyas.
International attention in the months since has been on reports of grave human rights violations allegedly perpetrated by security forces against the Rohingyas. Nearly 75,000 members of the Muslim minority have fled to Bangladesh since the crackdown began on October 9 of that year.
According to an official estimate, there are 75,000 new additions. Of the 33,000 of these registered Rohingyas, 13,000 are in Kutupalong and 20,000 in Nayapara refugee camps. Another three lakh Myanmar nationals have been living illegally in Cox's Bazar, Chittagong, Bandarban and Rangamati districts for a while.
Official sources said Filippo Grandi will visit the registered refugee camp at Kutupalong in Ukhiya upazila and other unregistered Rohingya camps. He is likely to talk with the Myanmar nationals and listen to their safety and livelihood concerns.
The UN refugee chief also held a meeting in Cox's Bazar with the government and UN officials engaged in refugee camp management. 
On return from Cox's Bazar, Filippo Grandi will hold a press conference at 6pm today.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in
Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, will undertake her sixth information-gathering visit to the country from July 10 to 21, according to a UN statement issued in Geneva yesterday.


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