The UNHCR on Monday said it has asked the Indian authorities for hosting the displaced Rohingya people of Myanmar.
‘In India, we are engaged with the government,’ newly appointed UNHCR country representative in Bangladesh Steven Corliss said in Dhaka on Monday when his attention was drawn over the entry of 1300 Rohingya people from India into Bangladesh.
‘We have advised all the governments for hosting Rohingya refugees and continue to hosting them until they can return to their country in safety and dignity,’ Corliss said after presenting his credential to foreign minister AK Abdul Momen at the foreign ministry.
Corliss said the UNHCR was working for creating conditions in Rakhine State of Myanmar for sustainable voluntary return of Rohingya people in safety and with dignity.
Thirty one Rohingya people including 17 children remained stranded on the India-Bangladesh border for the third day as both sides refused to accept them till filing of this report on Monday evening.
As many as 1,300 Rohingya Muslims have crossed into Bangladesh from India in recent weeks as fears of deportation to Myanmar sparked an exodus, according to an Agence France-Presse report.
The last group of 31 people crossed the barbed-wire fences along the Indian part of the border, but Bangladesh Border Guard blocked them from entering the Bangladesh territory.
‘They are now living in two tents provided by Indian Border Security Force on the zero line of the border, Mannan Jahangir, a local government official at the Bangladeshi border town of Kasba under Brahmanbaria district said.
Local BGB commander lieutenant colonel Golam Kabir said that senior officials from both sides held a meeting on Sunday and the Bangladesh side was insisting India to take back the Rohingya group as they had Indian health cards and documents issued by the UNHCR.
Some 40,000 Rohingya are living in India.
Police said those who arrived in Bangladesh had been living in India for years.
Nayana Bose, a spokeswoman for the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), which includes UN agencies, said last week that the pace of new arrivals from India had escalated since January 3.
India, which is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, arrested scores of Rohingya in 2018 and reportedly pushed many of them into Myanmar, said Corliss, a US national, who served as a special adviser to the UNHCR chief in Geneva before assuming the charges in Dhaka.
He told the foreign minister that all the Rohingyas he met in Cox’s Bazar wanted to go back to their country.
More than 7,00,000 Rohingyas, mostly women, children and aged people, entered Bangladesh after fleeing unbridled murder, arson and rape during ‘security operations’ by Myanmar military in Rakhine, what the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing and genocide, beginning from August 25, 2017.
The ongoing Rohingya influx took the number of undocumented Myanmar nationals and registered refugees in Bangladesh to about 11,16,000, according to estimates by UN agencies and Bangladesh foreign ministry.
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