New Delhi with Dhaka | The Daily Star
03:05 AM, September 15, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:24 AM, September 15, 2017

New Delhi with Dhaka

Sushma Swaraj tells Hasina over phone; Trudeau calls Suu Kyi

Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj last night expressed her government's full support to Bangladesh's stance over Rohingya issue.

Sushma talked to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina over phone and conveyed the message to her, PM's Deputy Press Secretary Nazrul Islam said after the conversation from Gono Bhaban.

Sushma said the Indian government is trying to create a pressure bilaterally and multilaterally on Myanmar to stop the persecution of Rohingyas as well as take back the refugees sheltered in Bangladesh.

"Rohingya problem is not an issue for Bangladesh alone; rather, it has turned into a global matter from a regional one," Sushma Swaraj told the prime minister.

Hasina said Bangladesh has given shelter to the Rohingyas only on humanitarian ground. Myanmar must acknowledge the Rohingyas as their nationals, she said, reports UNB.

Hasina noted that the government has allocated land as a makeshift arrangement to shelter the Rohingyas. But their long-term stay will certainly create a big problem for Bangladesh.

India High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla was present at Gono Bhaban at that time. He informed the prime minister of the first consignment of Indian relief materials sent for the Rohingya refugees.

TRUDEAU CALLS SUU KYI

As the condemnation of Rakhine violence keeps pouring in, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spoken with Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to express "deep concerns" over treatment of minorities in her country.

The phone call followed a chorus of cries for Canada to revoke the honorary citizenship it granted Suu Kyi in 2007, according to a news report of thecanadianpress.com yesterday.

Trudeau stressed to Suu Kyi the urgent need for Myanmar's military and civilian leaders to take a strong stand in ending the violence and promote the protection of civilians and access for the United Nations and humanitarian groups.

AID FOR REFUGEES 

In another development, aircrafts from India, Indonesia and Morocco arrived in Chittagong yesterday with relief materials for Rohingya refugees. According to local officials, more aircrafts carrying relief goods from Iran and Indonesia are scheduled to land in the airport today.

“We are arranging to supply to each and every family of newly arrived refugees a 15-kg pack consisting of parboiled rice, lentils, sugar, salt, biscuits, milk powder and other edibles, in addition to soap, mosquito nets and other items of utility,” Harsh Vardhan Shringla said while handing over an aircraft full of relief materials to Road, Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, according to a press release. 

The release also reads that India has expressed deep concern at the recent spate of violence in Rakhine, resulting in the outflow of a huge number of refugees into Bangladesh. 

“This has created unprecedented challenges for the government and people of Bangladesh. We appreciate the actions of the government of Bangladesh in making every effort to deal with the urgent requirements of food, clothing and shelter for the large number of refugees that have placed a huge demand on its resources.”

A second aircraft with relief material was due to arrive later yesterday.

The British government is also providing an additional 25 million pounds ($33 million) to Bangladesh and Myanmar to help them cope with a humanitarian disaster caused by the dislocation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas.

British officials said yesterday that most of the money will be spent in Bangladesh to provide assistance including food, shelter, water and sanitation for Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

Also, the government of South Africa expressed its concern over the refugee crisis. It urged all parties to halt the violence in order to avoid further human suffering.

THE STANCE OF CHINA

China endorsed Myanmar's offensive against Rohingya insurgents, Reuters reported citing Myanmar's official media yesterday.

“The stance of China regarding the terrorist attacks in Rakhine is clear, it is just an internal affair,” the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper yesterday quoted China's ambassador, as telling top government officials.

But at the UN in New York, China set a different tone, joining UN Security Council expression of concern about reports of excessive violence and calling for immediate steps to end it.

Also yesterday, Rohingya militants, whose raids in Western Myanmar provoked an army crackdown that spurred a humanitarian crisis, denied any links to global terror groups, days after al-Qaeda urged Muslims to rally to their cause.

'ORCHESTRATED CAMPAIGN'

Amnesty International yesterday said it has turned up evidence of an “orchestrated campaign of systematic burnings” by Myanmar security forces Myanmar security forces and vigilante mobs are burning down entire Rohingya villages and shooting people at random as they try to flee last three weeks.

The advocacy group is releasing a new analysis of video, satellite photos, witness accounts and other data that found over 80 sites were torched in northern Rakhine State since an August 25 militant attack on a border post.

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