“Rohingyas must return to their country of origin as soon as possible,” said Md. Shahriar Alam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs.
He firmly stated
this while addressing a virtual Conference on Sustaining support for the
Rohingya Refugee response jointly organized by the US, UK, EU and the UNHCR
The State Minister in his intervention highlighted how Bangladesh as the very first responder extended unconditional and immeasurable humanitarian support to the persecuted Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar’s brutal atrocity and violence. When no second country was willing to shoulder responsibility, “it was Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who opened the border and saved the lives of Millions of Rohingyas,” he added. Similar gesture was shown during the recent boat incidents when Bangladesh again came to their rescue when other littoral states shied away from their responsibility.
Referring to Prime Minister’s statement delivered at the 75th UNGA that “The problem was created by Myanmar and its solution must be found in Myanmar,” Shahriar Alam reiterated that Bangladesh is not in a position to take this burden anymore and the Rohingyas must return to their homeland immediately.
The State Minister emphasized the need for international community to work towards creating an environment for early repatriation. He expressed deep frustration that despite conclusion of bilateral agreements in 2018 and sincere efforts on the part of Bangladesh, till to date not a single Rohingya could be repatriated because of the lack of political will of Myanmar and failure to fulfill its commitment. Lack of progress in repatriation in the last three years led to widespread frustrations and hopelessness among the displaced Rohingyas making them susceptible to trafficking, radicalization, drug dealing and other criminal activities.
For commencement of repatriation, Shahriar Alam proposed to initiate confidence-building measures involving civilian confidence-builders of ASEAN, UN and neighboring countries who can undertake activities to infuse confidence among the Rohingyas and to encourage them to return.
The business as usual approach and the appeasement theory pursued by the international community are counter-productive and stunting the prospect of repatriation. Expressing his dismay that the “role of the United Nations in saving humanity from hell is also not visible in its policy actions towards Myanmar” he urged all stakeholders to put their best efforts to help Rohingyas return to their home in Myanmar.
Alongside the unhindered humanitarian assistance, he called upon international community to invest necessary political will for materializing urgent repatriation. ‘This would be the real and most valuable service to this persecuted community,’ he added.
The virtual conference was also attended by other regional countries including Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.