A government body on Thursday stressed the need for providing basic humanitarian assistance to undocumented Myanmar nationals staying in Bangladesh.
British high commissioner Alison Blake, Australian high commissioner Julia Niblett and Canadian high commissioner Benoît-Pierre Laramée said that international efforts should be strengthened for addressing plights of ethnic minority Rohungya Muslims in Rakhine State of Myanmar.
They said this during a joint visit to makeshift Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar on Thursday, according to officials.
Parliamentary standing committee on foreign affairs ministry on Thursday emphasised the need for continuous diplomatic efforts and increasing engagement of international community to take back Rohingyas by Myanmar.
Human Rights Watch on Wednesday urged the Bangladesh government to ‘immediately drop’ its plan to transfer Rohingyas ‘to an uninhabited and undeveloped coastal island’.
An estimated 69,000 Rohingyas fled indiscriminate killing, rape, arson and violence by Myanmar military in Rakhine State and entered Bangladesh in the past four months, according to the United Nations.
The national taskforce for planning and coordination on the government’s steps, in a meeting on Thursday, decided to recommend that measures should be taken for fulfilling basic
humanitarian needs of the undocumented Myanmar nationals staying in Bangladesh, officials said.
Officials representing different government authorities, in the meeting, stressed the need for maintaining strong and persistence vigilance along the border to thwart irregular and illegal entrance of Myanmar nationals to Bangladesh.
Foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque presided over the meeting that also asked Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics to conduct a census of Rohingyas entered Bangladesh after October 9, 2016, in bordering Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban districts.
The 30-member taskforce, formed in 2013 with representatives from 29 ministries and departments, is entrusted with the responsibilities, among others, of coordination on the government’s steps involving Myanmar nationals staying in Bangladesh, making list, conducting census and survey in this regard, assessing the necessity of providing them with basic needs and enhancing border management with Myanmar.
Parliamentary standing committee chairman Dipu Moni told New Age, after the meeting, that Rohingya issue was a humanitarian crisis and ‘it is one of the important challenge for foreign policy of our country.’
Detailed discussions, she said, ‘is needed as international communities including the Unite Nations and the OIC had recognised the Rohingya crisis as a humanitarian crisis.
New York-based Human Rights Watch said, in a statement, that relocating the refugees from the Cox’s Bazar area to Thengar Char island would deprive them of their rights to freedom of movement, livelihood, food and education, in violation of Bangladesh’s obligations under international human rights law.
The government is, however, yet to release the report on a census conducted by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics in June 2016 in six districts — Cox’s Bazar, Rangamati, Bandarban, Khagrachari, Chittagong and Patuakhali, the primary destinations of the Rohingyas from Myanmar. The census found that the persecuted ethnic minority people of Myanmar had spread across Bangladesh and they were now in almost all of the 64 districts.
About 33,000 registered refugees of Myanmar and 3,00,000 undocumented Myanmar national have fled atrocities in Buddhist-majority Myanmar and living in shoddy life in cramp houses in Cox’s Bazar for years, as the Myanmar authorities passed an exclusionary law in 1982 denying citizenship and fundamental rights to the minority Muslims living in Rakhine state for generations, making them stateless.
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