Dhaka urges UN team to help engage int’l community with Myanmar

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 00:04, Apr 26,2019 | Updated: 00:12, Apr 26,2019


Bangladesh on Thursday said that the international community should engage with Myanmar for creating an atmosphere conducive to repatriation of the Rohingya people sheltered in Bangladesh for a sustainable solution of the protracted crisis.
‘I told them that they have no business here. They should go to Myanmar. I said [it] resolutely,’ foreign minister AK Abdul Momen told journalists after a meeting with three top UN officials at the foreign ministry on Thursday.
The three UN dignitaries were Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Vitorino, director general of International Organisation for Migration, and Mark Lowcock, head of UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
‘I wanted to know how many times they had gone to the country [Myanmar]. How many staffers they have deployed over there. . . Over one thousand [foreign] people have been deployed here [in Bangladesh]. Do more over there [in Myanmar],’ he said.
The Bangladesh foreign minister suggested to the dignitaries for creating public opinion worldwide, and to convince the Myanmar authorities on creating conducive environment to take back their people.
The minister said that he also suggested to the UN officials to ask Japan, South Korea, Singapore and the European Union to mount pressure on Myanmar. ‘Myanmar does most of its business with the European Union. Japan has been relentlessly investing in the country. Singapore looks after their banking operations,’ he said.
Stressing the need for resolving the crisis at the earliest, Momen said displaced Rohingya people might be engaged in extremism. ‘I have put up an alert, saying that extremism might bring an adverse impact for the entire region, Myanmar might be in trouble, and the economic objectives of China might not be realised.’
The minister also urged the three UN officials to find out which authorities in Myanmar were delivering arms in the Rakhine state.
On a question about transferring the Rohingya people to Bhashanchar island, Momen said that several developed countries and the UN would be held responsible ‘if anyone in a Rohingya camp dies in landslide or natural calamity during the next monsoon as they were obstructing the process of shifting them to the island.
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 the Myanmar military in Rakhine from August 25, 2017, what the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing and genocide.
The UNHCR and the government failed in their first attempt to send back the first batch of Rohingya people to Myanmar on November 15 last year as nobody agreed to go back in what they said absence of environment for return to Rakhine.
The total number of undocumented Myanmar nationals and registered refugees from the country in Bangladesh is about 11,16,000, according to estimates by UN agencies and Bangladesh foreign ministry.

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