Bachelet assures UN’s continued efforts to ensure safe return of Rohingyas to Myanmar


Acknowledging Bangladesh’s great difficulty in dealing with the Rohingya crisis, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Sunday (August 14, 2022) assured the UN’s continued efforts to realize a safe and voluntary return of the Rohingyas to Myanmar.

She made the assurance when Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said that the protracted stay of the displaced Rohingyas in Bangladesh bears the risk of the spread of radicalism, and transnational crimes and thus may hamper regional stability.

High Commissioner Bachelet, appreciating Bangladesh’s humanitarian gesture towards the Rohingyas, underscored the need for their education through fully operationalizing the learning centers in the camps.

Momen urged the High Commissioner to use her good office to effectively engage with Myanmar and repatriate the forcibly displaced Rohingyas to Myanmar.

He recalled that the Government took good care of the displaced Rohingyas during the pandemic by providing vaccines. He urged the UN system, including UNDP, to undertake projects in Rakhine to create a conducive environment for the return of the Rohingyas. He underscored that Bangladesh, as a developing country, strongly promotes the Right to Development.

She appreciated Bangladesh’s regular reporting to human rights treaty bodies and suggested a mechanism for further streamlining this.

High Commissioner Bachelet also positively noted the possible upcoming visits of several Special Rapporteurs of the UN to Bangladesh, as well as Bangladesh’s efforts to implement the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations.

Bachelet, who is now on a four-day visit, had meetings with the Foreign Minister, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, Law Minister Anisul Huq, and Education Minister Dr. Dipu Moni on Sunday.

They discussed various dimensions of the human rights aspect of Bangladesh. During the meetings, Bangladesh Ministers highlighted the government’s “sincere efforts” to protect and promote the human rights of the people.

Momen highlighted the government’s achievements in women empowerment, and GDP growth despite the pandemic, and political stability.

He also underscored the fact that, in Bangladesh, the media is operating freely, with a large number of television channels and newspapers.

Law Minister Huq, during his meeting, briefed the High Commissioner on the progress made on the reviewing of the Digital Security Act (DSA), an area on which both sides are working together, underscoring that the DSA was enacted to combat cybercrimes.

Noting that Bangladesh is working towards establishing a social order where human rights are guaranteed, he underscored the need for further international support for human rights training.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman depicted how Bangladesh suffered from political violence and terrorism in past, and how the government has ensured safety and security by combating all these challenges.

Both sides also appreciated the professional performances of Bangladeshi peacekeepers, including female peacekeepers.

The Home Minister, in response to the High Commissioner’s query, elaborated on the government’s “sincere efforts” to fully implement the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord.

He also highlighted the prevailing religious harmony in the country, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Education Minister Dipu Moni briefed High Commissioner Bachelet on the measures undertaken by the government to ensure quality education, including introducing a new curriculum, skill development initiatives, stipends for female students, and access to education for disabled persons.

She also informed about the inclusive measures taken for the third-gender people.

This is the first-ever visit by any UN High Commissioner for Human Rights since the establishment of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights back in 1993.

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