Urging Myanmar to take back Rohingya populations from Bangladesh, visiting OIC Secretary General Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen yesterday said Myanmar should resolve the ongoing humanitarian crisis over the persecuted minorities.
“Main responsibility to resolve this longstanding crisis is Myanmar's,” he said and called for concrete steps in this regard during his visit to Ukhia upazila in Cox's Bazar.
He met refugees at two camps -- one registered and another unregistered -- and talked to those who escaped Rakhine state following grave human rights violations and widespread persecution by Myanmar security forces.
The OIC chief listened to horrific stories of killings, torture, rape, use of human shields by security forces and deaths in custody. He said the world will be informed of these rights violations.
Rohingya refugees have been a big headache for Bangladesh as the country has been hosting 3,00,000 to 5,00,000 of them for over three decades. After the latest crackdown began on October 9, 2016, some 75,000 new members of the Myanmarese Muslims entered Bangladesh.
Expressing OIC's solidarity with the Muslims there, Othaimeen said pressure will be put on Myanmar to give them citizenship and return their assets so that the refugees can go back to their own country.
He held a meeting with local government and non-government officials.
The OIC Secretary General had a long conversation with a number of women who were brutally tortured by the Myanmar troops. He also had separate conversations with a group of another 30 males and females in an IOM-run school.
While talking to journalists, Othaimeen thanked the government and the people of Bangladesh for hosting the refugees for more than three decades and for providing humanitarian assistances to them.
During his conversation with the Myanmarese refugees, he also urged the Rohingya people to abide by Bangladeshi laws.
Senior government officials, senior BGB officials and representatives of international bodies were present there.
Earlier on Thursday, the OIC chief reminded Myanmar that Rohingya people must be granted full citizenship and basic rights.
"Rohingya people are denied their basic rights. They need to be recognised … They must return to their country. They must have their full citizenship," he said.
Othaimeen, who arrived here on Wednesday night on a four-day tour, also called upon Myanmar government to come up with a roadmap on how to go forward to settle the issue peacefully.
This was Othaimeen's first visit to Bangladesh.
He met President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali on Thursday.
On July 24, United Nations Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee, after her visit to Myanmar, accused its government of adopting policies reminiscent of the previous military regime and presiding over a worsening security and human rights situation.
“I continue to receive reports of violations allegedly committed by security forces during operations,” she said.
Besides, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi at a press conference on July 10 after meeting refugees in Cox's Bazar said the Muslim minorities in Rakhine state cannot move freely without authorisation and cannot access basic services like healthcare, education and their livelihoods easily.
“These people deserve a better future than the present conditions of extreme poverty, deprivation and isolation,” the UN high commissioner said and put emphasis on implementation of the citizenship verification process “efficiently and rapidly” which will help unblock all the remaining barriers to the solution.