Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen lashed out at the countries that are pressuring an already overburdened Bangladesh to accept more Rohingya refugees .
Speaking about a recent meeting with ambassadors of the European Union countries on Friday, the minister said if the European and American governments were so worried about the wellbeing of these refugees, they were welcome to accept them into their countries.
“I told them the average annual wage of our people is USD 2,000, whereas for you it is USD 56,000. And in our country 1,200 people live in every square kilometre, while in yours it is 15 . Why don’t you relocate these refugees to your countries?
Bangladesh shelters nearly 1.1 million Rohingya in camps at Cox’s Bazar since mass exodus in August 2017 in the face of threat from Myanmar army. Sheikh Hasina’s government reached an agreement with Myanmar government towards the end of 2017 for their repatriation.
Desperate Rohingya people attempting to travel to East Asian countries on sea routes often draw headlines in the international media. The portrayal of their sufferings in the global media encouraged international human-rights organisations to pressure Bangladesh into allowing them in.
Dhaka has been critical of growing calls by countries that Bangladesh shelter more Rohingya rather than piling the pressure on Myanmar to repatriate its the Muslim outcasts. Bangladesh has called on other countries to rescue the Rohingya in boats who are strarnded at sea.
“The problems occur in the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean. And whenever any tricky situation emerges, everyone looks to Bangladesh, as if the rest should be in Bangladesh because we have sheltered 1.1 million of them. No matter where in the world there is an issue with the Rohingya people, we have to solve it,” Foreign Minister Momen complained.
“We said we cannot do it, we have no more space left. And the others also have a responsibility (towards the Rohingya). It is not our problem alone, it’s a global issue.”
This month, 277 Rohingya people were rescued from the sea and the government sent them to Bhashan Char.