Rohingyas won’t be forced to go to Bhashan Char: FM

Bangladesh on Tuesday said Rohingyas will have a better living in Bhashan Char once relocated there reiterating that it “will not force” any of the displaced people to avail of the relocation opportunity.

“We wanted to avoid the risk as they (Rohingyas) die in landslides in the crowded camps. They’ll have a better living if they go there (Bhashan Char),” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told reporters at his office in the evening.

The Foreign Minister said he conveyed the message to visiting US acting assistant secretary Alice Wells during a meeting held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Dr Momen and the senior US official briefed the reporters separately at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the hour-long meeting.

The government has a plan to house accommodate 100,000 Rohingyas in Bhashan Char which is ready now for living, as newly-built shelters will offer educational and livelihood options and help decongest the present camps.

The cluster in Bhashan Char comes with multistorey buildings, a typical model that is hugely successful in coastal belt.

The Foreign Minister said he wanted to know from the US official how they can help to ensure the repatriation of Rohingyas.

The US side said they are “fully engaged” with the Rohingya issue and they want to see the issue is resolved.

They (US side) also talked about education for Rohingya children, said the Foreign Minister.

Wells said they will continue to support the Rohingyas and host community in Cox’s Bazar – Rohingya.

Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas who have fled their homeland in Rakhine State after being persecuted by their own country.

Myanmar did not take back a single Rohingya from Bangladesh over the last two years but Myanmar, in its attempts to “mislead” the international community, claimed that a total of 397 displaced people have voluntarily returned from Bangladesh to Myanmar.

Two repatriation attempts were unsuccessful as Myanmar “failed to remove trust deficit” among the Rohingyas and there was “lack of conducive environment” in Rakhine for their return.

Last week, Bangladesh accused Myanmar of remaining engaged in a “persistent campaign” to mislead the international community to avoid its obligations for “sustained repatriation” and reintegration of the Rohingyas.

Dhaka also rejected “baseless accusations, falsification, and misrepresentation of facts” by Nay Pyi Taw, and urged it to stop concocted campaign and concentrate on the fulfillment of its obligations.

“Myanmar must act decisively to address the real causes that are preventing the displaced Rohingya from going back voluntarily,” said the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry.

The ministry said it was a “matter of utter dismay” to witness such tenacious campaign with fabricated information, misrepresentation of facts, unsubstantiated claims and undue accusations on part of Myanmar to mislead the international community.

Bangladesh said Myanmar should seriously consider a comprehensive participation of the international community in creating conducive environment for the return as well as in the monitoring of repatriation and reintegration process.

“Myanmar should also cooperate with the international community to eliminate the culture of impunity for the sake of a durable solution to the protracted problem,” the Foreign Ministry said.

UNB