British Minister for International Development Penny Mordaunt has stressed the need for voluntary repatriation of Rohingyas to their place of origin in Myanmar, making sure that they are protected after their return.
“The plight of the Rohingya refugees to return home must not fall off the international agenda and they must be given justice,” she said, according a press release issued yesterday by the British High Commission in Dhaka.
She said the international community must make sure that Rohingyas' right to return remains high on the agenda.
Mordaunt, also the UK's minister for women and equalities, arrived in Dhaka on Sunday on a three-day official visit. On Monday, she met Rohingya refugees at a food distribution centre in Kutupalong camp of Cox's Bazar.
During a meeting with State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam at the capital's state guesthouse Padma yesterday, the British minister said she would push for the changes needed in Burma to help the Rohingya return to their homes.
She said now was the time to look beyond short-term life-saving assistance support, to give them the skills they need to create sustainable lives both for themselves and their families.
“This major man-made humanitarian crisis has been ethnic cleansing on an industrial scale and I urge the Government of Burma to create the necessary conditions that would allow those Rohingya currently living in Bangladesh to return.”
Talking to a small group of journalists at the residence of the British high commissioner in Dhaka yesterday afternoon, the minister said they wanted to see that Rohingyas' desire to return home was fulfilled.
Mordaunt, the first UK minister to visit Bangladesh since the December 30 national election, emphasised on unceasing joint efforts to protect both Rohingyas and the host communities in Bangladesh.
She said the UK would remain at the forefront of the efforts to try and get required conditions in Myanmar.
The UK minister, who visited Myanmar this week prior to her arrival in Bangladesh, said the government and the people of Bangladesh have shown great generosity and humanity in hosting the Rohingya. “But we recognise that Bangladesh can't shoulder this responsibility alone and I'm proud of the UK's leading.”
After the meeting with Mordaunt yesterday afternoon, State Minister Shahriar told reporters that the government had worked out some new strategies after reviewing the overall situation to deal with the Rohingya repatriation issue.
“We have worked out some new strategies after reviewing things and you will soon see implementation of those strategies,” he said.
Referring to the government's involvement in multilateral discussions, Shahriar said the government was in talks with other countries on the Rohingya issue to find a lasting solution to it.
The UK minister left Dhaka yesterday.
TOKYO ASSURES SUPPORT
Japan yesterday said it would continue supporting Bangladesh in its bilateral efforts to repatriate Rohingyas to Myanmar.
The assurance came during official talks between Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshiko Abe and her Bangladeshi counterpart Shahriar Alam in Dhaka yesterday, said a Bangladesh foreign ministry press release.
She also reiterated her country's commitment for providing humanitarian assistance for temporarily sheltering Rohingyas in Bangladesh and continued support for safe and voluntary repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar and their resettlement.
Shahriar underscored the need of practical steps from Myanmar authorities so that Rohingyas feel safe to return to their homeland.
He requested the Japanese state minister to include Bangladesh as a source country for recruitment of workers under Japan's new immigration law.
The Japanese state minister is paying a two-day visit to Bangladesh.