Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday told Parliament that Bangladesh would place its proposals on future action plans, including the review of progress over the Rohingya crisis in different multilateral meetings during the 73rd United Nations General Assembly.
The prime minister said this while replying to a starred question from Jatiya Party lawmaker Nurul Islam Milon.
‘Besides, we’ll have talks over the issue with different important world leaders on the sideline meetings of the UN General Assembly.’
Sheikh Hasina said she placed a five-point proposal in the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in resolving the Rohingya problem immediately after starting ethnic atrocities against Rohingya since August 25, 2017.
‘The international community accepted my proposals cordially,’ she said.
She said that Bangladesh allowed the influx of forcibly displaced Rohingyas keeping the border open actively responding to the unprecedented humanitarian crisis.
She said ‘There’s no scope for long-term stay of Rohingyas in Bangladesh. We want to repatriate them at the earliest.’
Hasina said safe, respectful and sustainable repatriation of Rohingyas to their homeland would be possible through the Awami League government’s diplomatic efforts.
Mentioning that Bangladesh provided shelter to 1.1 million Rohingyas, she said, ‘Their stay in Bangladesh has created a risk of human trafficking, drug smuggling and other orchestrated crimes.’
The displaced Rohingyas had created a huge negative impact on local communities and ecology in Cox’s Bazar, she said adding that the risk of environmental disaster had emerged due to deforestation in the reserved land and cutting hills massively.
Besides, the prime minister said, the possibility of breakout of diphtheria, polio and HIV (Aids) and other communicable diseases has appeared.
She said the Rohingya crisis first started in Myanmar 1978-’79 and the influx of Rohingyas to Bangladesh began. But the crisis continued due to the failure of the then military ruler in handling the problem.
In reply to a supplementary question from treasury bench member Dhirendra Debnath Shambhu (Barguna-1), the prime minister said Bangladesh had also experienced the influx of Rohingyas in the 1980s.
Later, several lakh Rohingyas entered Bangladesh in 1991 and 1992 during the BNP regime. Though Bangladesh could repatriate some Rohingyas through talks with Myanmar, some of them remained in Bangladesh, she said.
‘But our diplomatic success is here that we could create international opinion that Rohingyas were victims of injustice and it is duty of Myanmar to let them go back to their own country,’ said the prime minister.
She said the International Criminal Court also has taken measures to try those who were involved in persecution against Rohingya. And Bangladesh continues to provide all the information it has regarding the issue to the court as per its request.
During her talks at the recent BIMSTEC summit, the president of Myanmar said they would take Rohingyas back. ‘They (Myanmar) have also acknowledged it,’ Hasina said.
‘I hope Myanmar will be forced to take them back in the face of international pressure,’ she added.
Responding to another supplementary question from lawmaker Nurul Islam Milon, the Prime Minister said, ‘We had talks with all the countries and all acknowledged that the stay of 1.1 million Rohingyas is a huge burden on Bangladesh.’
She said, ‘We’ve got a huge response from all countries, including China, Russia and India over putting pressure on Myanmar. Though they didn’t put pressure overtly, they told us they would take all necessary measures so that Myanmar takes Rohingyas back.’
Answering to other starred questions, Hasina mentioned her government’s various measures regarding bringing development of the country’s communication sector, the armed forces, reducing traffic congestion, combating militancy, terrorism and corruption and the welfare for freedom fighters.
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