Rohingya repatriation soon, hopes FM
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday reiterated his hope that Myanmar will soon start taking back its nationals from Bangladesh as global pressure on the neighbouring country is mounting.
"I'm always optimistic. I'm hoping that the repatriation process will start soon," he said, adding that initially there was less pressure on Myanmar but it is mounting on them now.
The foreign minister was addressing as the chief a dissemination workshop titled "The Rohingya Refugee Crisis and Its Impact on the Host Community" held at Brac Centre Inn jointly organised by Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRI) and UNDP.
Bangladesh is now hosting around 1.2 million Rohingyas and most of them entered Bangladesh since August 25, 2017.
Dr Momen said development projects both in Bangladesh and Myanmar will be affected if uncertainty prevails with pockets of possible radicalisation due to longer stay of Rohingyas in Bangladesh.
He said Bangladesh is asking the neighbours and international community to help resolve the Rohingya crisis as quickly as possible.
The Foreign Minister also said the projects of Japan and China will also be affected if this problem remains unresolved and they, for their own interest, should ask Myanmar to take back their nationals.
Terming Myanmar a friendly country, Dr Momen said Myanmar took back their nationals in the past though not a single person has been repatriated this time.
Referring to Prime Minister's recent China visit, the Foreign Minister said China sees political will in Myanmar to resolve the Rohingya crisis and is willing to assist the repatriation process.
"We've achieved many things through discussion and dialogue. Therefore, I'm hopeful that we'll be able to repatriate Rohingyas," he said mentioning that Bangladesh will not force anybody to leave.
PRI Chairman Dr Zaidi Sattar said the global community must continue its pressure on the government of Myanmar to take back the forciblydisplaced Rohingyas from Bangladesh.
"These displaced people must be repatriated to their homeland on condition that their return is safe, secure and dignified," he said, adding that the repatriation of 500-600 people a day could be a good beginning.
PRI Research Director Dr MA Razzaque presented the report.
UNDP Resident Representative Sudipto Mukherjee and Research Initiatives Bangladesh (RIB) Executive Director Dr Meghna Guhathakurta, among others, spoke on the occasion.
Zaidi Sattar said Bangladesh is now hosting 4.7 percent of the world's refugee population with only 0.3 percent of global output.
Talking about poverty impact, he said 2,500 households fell below the poverty line while 1,300 more turned vulnerable.
Prof Dr CR Abrar of Dhaka University International Relations Department said Bangladesh is a shining example of refugee management and their protection.
According to a PRI survey, the prices of all essential food items have risen up to 50 percent since the Rohingya influx.