Former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon yesterday called for a political solution to the Rohingya crisis so that the Rohingyas could return to Rakhine State “freely and safely”.
“There should be a political solution,” he told reporters after meeting with Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen at a hotel in the capital, reports UNB.
Ban appreciated Bangladesh’s role in sheltering over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar camps and sought continued support for Rohingyas from the UN agencies and humanitarian organisations.
The former UN chief said the Myanmar government should show much more generous and compassionate support to Rohingyas so that they can return to their home country “freely and safely”, adds BSS.
About his experience of visiting Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar during his last tour of Bangladesh this year, Ban said, “It’s a very tragic situation …. It was hard to describe [the sufferings of Rohingyas]. What I felt that was so sad.”
The Rohingyas were denied citizenship by Myanmar through a 1982 citizenship law. They have also been deprived of basic rights, including freedom of movement, health services and government jobs, since then.
Over the last four decades, waves of violence in Rakhine led hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and other countries.
Following a military crackdown, about 750,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh since August 2017, what was termed by UN a “classic example of ethnic cleansing”.
Despite two attempts of repatriation under a bilateral deal between Bangladesh and Myanmar, no Rohingya returned home, arguing that the conditions in Rakhine were not conducive to their safe return. They also want guarantee of citizenship.
The former UN secretary-general yesterday highly commended Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s “strong commitment” in dealing with all global challenges, including climate change, implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and empowering women and youths.
Ban said a global solution was needed to address all those major global challenges.
He, through Foreign Minister Momen, invited the premier to attend the Climate Adaptation Summit, to be hosted by the Netherlands in October next year.
Ban said the Global Commission on Adaptation, under the leadership of the Dutch government, is going to convene the summit.
He said Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries when it comes to climate change.
The former UN secretary-general said he has been saying across the world about the very successful story of Bangladesh in climate adaptation. “Bangladesh is doing excellent.”
Appreciating the country’s efforts to deal with recent cyclones, he said even one death would be very tragic.
Talking to reporters, Momen said he and Ban discussed issues related to climate change, Climate Adaptation Summit, birth centenary celebrations of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Rohingya crisis, SDGs and poverty reduction.The former UN chief arrived in Dhaka on Friday night on a brief visit, his second tour of Bangladesh this year, after leaving the United Nations.