'Forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals'
Foreign Affairs Secretary M Shahidul Haque yesterday said the government had decided to call Rohingya people “forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals” instead of “refugees”.
The matter will be raised at the United Nations at an opportune moment, he told an opinion sharing meeting at the capital's Cirdap auditorium. The minister said it might trigger controversy but “we have a very good explanation for that”.
Human Rights Forum Bangladesh organised the meeting on “Sharing draft Universal Periodic Review (UPR) stakeholders' report with ministries and national institutions”.
Speaking as chief guest, the foreign secretary, however, said whether Rohingyas were declared as refugees or not, using this term would not hamper fulfilling their needs.
The senior bureaucrat said for the last three to four years, Bangladesh tried to resolve the Rohingya issue bilaterally, but the initiative failed. “Now we are trying to make it multilateral.”
Bangladesh has sheltered more than 480,000 Rohingyas who fled persecution in Myanmar's Rakhine state since August 25.
International concern is growing over the fate of the Rohingyas, with the United Nations denouncing the Myanmar's brutal military campaign as "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing". The campaign includes killings, rape and torching of Rohingya villages, according to the UN.