Rohingyas must go home in Myanmar, PM Hasina tells UN rights chief

NEWS DESK

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday (August 17, 2022) reiterated her call to Myanmar to take back home the country’s over one million Rohingya nationals from their temporary shelter in Bangladesh.

“The Rohingyas are the nationals of Myanmar and they have to be taken back,” the prime minister told the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet who called on her at her official residence Ganabhaban.

PM’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed the reporters after the meeting.

He quoted the PM as telling the UN rights chief that Myanmar neither refuses that the Rohingyas are not their nationals, and nor is taking them back.

Bachelet, a former president of Chile, proposed to increase opportunities for education and work for the Rohingya nationals sheltered in Bangladesh.

In reply, the prime minister said such initiatives will not be possible in Coxs’ Bazar.

She, however, informed the visiting UN human rights chief that such steps can be taken at Bhashanchar where more than 20 thousand Rohingyas have already been shifted to provide them with better basic facilities.

They both discussed various issues including Russia-Ukraine war, Rohingya crisis, climate change and women empowerment, according to the press secretary.

PM Hasina told the UN high commissioner that Bangladesh had been under military rule for long after the assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on August 15, 1975 violating fundamental and human rights.

The killers were given indemnity from any court trial by the rulers who seized power after the carnage. The killers and war criminals were also rehabilitated in politics after the August 15 mayhem.

She recalled that she along with her younger sister survived the massacre in 1975 as they were abroad at that time.

Sharing her pains Bachelet recalled that like Sheikh Hasina, her family too had suffered when an oppressive government was in power in Chile.

She said she was deeply touched while visiting the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmandi 32 in the city.

About the current global situation, both Hasina and Bachelet agreed that the Covid-19, Russia-Ukraine war, and sanctions, counter-sanctions have created crisis across the world.

Hasina said Bangladesh never wants any war in any corner of the world.

During the meeting, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights informed the PM that they were working with the Bangladesh Law Ministry on the digital security act and have given some observations.

In reply, Hasina put emphasis on containing terrorism and said, her government will not allow terrorism in any form on the soil of Bangladesh.

She also mentioned the CHT peace treaty her government signed in 1997 and since then 62,000 refugees returned home and 1800 armed cadres surrendered ending the conflict.

About the socio-economic development of the country, the premier said that her government is now focusing on the agriculture sector and agro-processing industries.

She said that road connectivity with the southern region improved a lot after the self-financed Padma Bridge opened to traffic.

As a result, commodities from the south and south-western regions could be marketed across the country including in Dhaka, she said.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus and UN Resident Coordinator in Dhaka Gwyan Lewis were present.

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