Play your role

PM tells UN about Rohingya return; UN team starts 2-day Cox’s Bazar visit today

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday urged the United Nations to play a role in sending back over one million Rohingyas from Bangladesh to their homeland Myanmar.

They need to go back to their homeland and the UN could help Bangladesh return them, she told three top UN officials at her Sangsad Bhaban office, reports UNB.

After the meeting, PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters.

The UN officials are in Bangladesh on a three-day joint visit to highlight the need for support for the humanitarian assistance to over one million Rohingyas living in Cox's Bazar.

The officials are UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi, Director General of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Antonio Vitorino and UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock.

She mentioned that over one million Rohingyas are a big burden for Bangladesh. "How long will it continue?" she said.

The PM said the local residents of Cox's Bazar are suffering due to the influx of Rohingyas. "But still they're listening to me, they're extending their cooperation to the government. Their cultivable lands are being destroyed, even though Rohingyas have been given shelter destroying the forests."

The UN officials reaffirmed UN's commitment to continue support and cooperation particularly for the education and other basic needs of the Rohingya children.

About the agreement signed with Myanmar for the repatriation of Rohingyas, the UN officials regretted that the progress was very slow.

Dhaka also called upon the officials to step up their engagement with Myanmar to build confidence among the Rohingyas for their return home.Briefing the UN officials at the foreign ministry, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said the Bangladesh government developed Bhasan Char island to accommodate 100,000 Rohingyas.

"Relocating the Rohingyas to Bhasan Char will help address the congestion in Cox's Bazar camps," he told the officials.

The UN officials also met the state minister ahead of their visit to Cox's Bazar from today.

They arrived in Dhaka yesterday.

During the meeting, the state minister expressed dissatisfaction at Myanmar's failure to build confidence among the Rohingyas to return to their homeland, according to a foreign ministry press release.

The UN officials informed the state minister about the funding status for implementing the Joint Response Plan-2019.

Lauding Bangladesh for its efforts to address Rohingyas' basic needs, they said the country dealt with the crisis in an exemplary manner.