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Sheikh Hasina accuses Myanmar of defying promise over repatriation of Rohingyas

Bangladesh hosts over a million Rohingyas in makeshift refugee camps in its southeastern Cox’s Bazar district as the fled a Myanmar military crackdown in August 2017 generating the worst refugee crisis in the recent history.

PTI PTI
Dhaka Updated on: June 10, 2019 9:10 IST
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina 
Image Source : AP

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina 

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Sunday accused Myanmar of being reluctant in repatriating their over a million Rohingya nationals defying its promise and alleged that some international aid agencies want to keep the refugee crisis alive.

Bangladesh hosts over a million Rohingyas in makeshift refugee camps in its southeastern Cox’s Bazar district as the fled a Myanmar military crackdown in August 2017 generating the worst refugee crisis in the recent history.

In January 2018, a deal was signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar to repatriate Rohingya refugees. Myanmar had agreed to accept 1,500 Rohingyas each week, Bangladesh said at the time, adding that it aimed to return all of them to Myanmar within two years.

"The problem lies with Myanmar as they don't want Rohingya to return by any means though it signed an agreement with Bangladesh promising to repatriate them," she told a press conference at her Ganabhaban official residence.

The premier feared that some international aid and voluntary agencies are also unwilling to resolve the crisis. "They never want the refugees to return to their home," she said. 

"This is what I see," she said at a media briefing on her tri-nation tour of Japan, Saudi Arabia and Finland at Ganabhaban.

Asked about a perception that three major countries - China, Japan and India - took Myanmar's side in the crisis, the premier said Bangladesh separately held talks with these countries and they all acknowledged Rohingyas as Myanmar nationals and agreed they should return there.

"(But) they (the three countries) simultaneously argued that if they all confront Myanmar over the issue, then who will be there to convince them (Naypyidaw)," she said.

Prime Minister Hasina also said that she will travel to China in July at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. It will be her first visit to China after forming government for a third consecutive term.

The premier said she might also visit India if invited.

Replying to another question whether the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) nations were in favour of Rohingyas' repatriation as she referred to the crisis in the just held summit of the 57-nation Muslim countries forum, the premier said "certainly".

Hasina expressed her concerns about the security factors involving the Rohingyas as many of them were found to be getting engaged in criminal activities, forcing the authorities to ask armed forces and law enforcement agencies to intensify their vigil.

"We asked them to raise a security cluster around them (Rohingya camps) and enforce a constant patrol," she said.

The premier, however, wondered why the Rohingyas were unwilling to be relocated to offshore Bhashan Char where the government built comfortable structures for their accommodation.

The United Nations said senior Myanmar military officials should be prosecuted for genocide in Rakhine state, but the country insists it was defending itself against militants. 

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