Foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali on Thursday said that prime minister Sheikh Hasina would place ‘specific proposals’ for a solution to Rohingya crisis in the 73rd UN General Assembly in continuation of five-point proposal she placed in the same forum in 2017.
Hasina would leave Dhaka for New York today to attend the UN General Assembly that began on September 18 with the theme ‘making the United Nations relevant to all people: global leadership and shared responsibilities for peaceful, equitable and sustainable societies,’ the foreign minister said at a press conference at his office.
‘The prime minister will again place some specific proposals for a solution to Rohingya crisis in continuation of her previous five-point proposals given in 2017 for sustainable repatriation of all Rohingyas to Myanmar,’ he said.
Asked about the progress in resolving the crisis as over 11 lakh Rohingyas have taken shelter in Cox’s Banzar camps fleeing ethnic cleansing in the Rakhine state of Myanmar, the minister claimed that international pressure on Myanmar had increased.
‘The efforts are on to send them back. These are ongoing process and specific date cannot be given for the beginning of the repatriation,’ Mahmood replied to a question.
He said that the Joint Working Group members from Myanmar side would visit Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar soon as both sides were preparing to begin the repatriation process.
He said that he recently visited the Rakhine state and found that the situation there was changing, which he claimed as achievement of the government’s negotiations and pressure from international community on the Myanmar regime.
The foreign minister said that the Indian government had already initiated a move to construct houses for Rohingyas as most of their homesteads were set on fire.
The heads of states or governments, members of their parties and other delegations, observers or individual members will attend the general debate session between September 25 and October 1.
On the sideline, several high-level talks would be held during the UN General Assembly, the foreign minister said adding that the prime minister would join the ‘high-level event on the global compact on refugees: a model for greater solidarity and cooperation’ on September 24at the invitation of UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
During the assembly, Hasina would receive two awards—one from global news agency Inter Press Service for her ‘dynamic and farsighted leadership’ in addressing Rohingya crisis and ‘2018 Special Recognition for Outstanding Leadership Award’ from Global Hope Coalition, Mahmood Ali said.
Hasina, who would be accompanied by foreign minister, LGRD and cooperatives minister, prime minister’s energy adviser, and state minister for foreign affairs besides officials concerned, would reach New York on September 23 and leave for Dhaka on September 29.
Relying to a query, the foreign minister said that a 50-member official delegation would accompany the prime minister besides 200 business delegates during the visit.
Since August 25, 2017, more than 7.25 lakh ethnic minority Rohingyas, fleeing violence and systemic persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, what the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing and genocide, have taken shelter in Cox’s Bazar.
They have joined an estimated 4 lakh Rohingyas from previous waves of influx fuelled by intimidation by Myanmar government and army since 1978.
In the last UNGA in September 2017, Sheikh Hasina in her proposals said ending ethnic conflicts, sending UN fact-finding mission to Rakhine State in Myanmar, sending back the forcibly evicted Rohingya people after ensuring their proper security and immediate and unconditional implementation of the Kofi Annan Commission’s recommendations.
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