PM urges UN to play strong role on Rohingya issue

DHAKA, April 24, 2019 (BSS) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called
upon the international organisations including the United Nations (UN) to
play a strong role in repatriation of the Rohingya people from Bangladesh.

“Giving shelter to over one million forcibly displaced Rohingyas is a huge
burden for us and how long we will bear the load? They must go back to their
homeland of Myanma’s Rakhaine state,” she said.

The premier added: “So we want you to play a more proactive role in this
regard.”

The prime minister made this remark when United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees Pilippo Gandhi, UN Under Secretary General (Human Affairs) Mark
Lowcock and Director General of International Organisation for Migration
(IOM) Antonio Vitorino paid a joint courtesy call on her at her Jatiya
Sangsad Office here this evening.

After the meeting, PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters.

Sheikh Hasina thanked the UN organizations as well as other international
bodies and different countries for extending their support to Bangladesh on
the Rohingya issue.

She said the local people are suffering a lot due to exodus of over one
million Rohingyas into Cox’s Bazar. “Their cultivable land and even local
forest resources are being ruined for the presence of the Rohingyas,” she
said.

Sheikh Hasina warned of exposing the vulnerability of disasters, saying
natural calamity, cyclone and landslide in the hill areas can take place any
time particularly in the coming monsoon for which the Rohingyas may be
affected seriously.

“So, it’s better to shift them from this place, otherwise the risk factors
will be high,” she added.

The premier, however, mentioned that the government is developing an island
named Bhashanchar where more than one lakh Rohingyas will be shifted with
better living and various facilities.

About education of the Rohingya children, the prime minister said the
teachers who entered Bangladesh with them are providing informal education to
the kids.

In reply, the three top UN officials highly appreciated the prime minister
for her humanitarian gesture of giving over one million Rohingyas in
Bangladesh.

Pointing out their visit to Myanmar, they informed the prime minister that they
sought access of the UNDP and UNHCR to Myanmar on the repatriation of
Rohingyas.

“We’re committed to continuing help Bangladesh on the Rohingya issue,
especially providing education for the Rohingya children,” they said.

The UN officials said they held talks and signed agreements with the
Myanmar authorities on the Rohingya repatriation. “But the progress is very
low in this regard,” they remarked.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, PM’s Principal
Secretary Md Nojibur Rahman, Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque and UN
Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Bangladesh Mia Seppo
were present on the occasion.