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Foreign Minister thanks Prime Minister for prudent, decisive step to relocate Rohingyas

  • Published at 09:38 pm December 4th, 2020
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen
File photo of Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

More than 1,600 Rohingyas were shifted to Bhashan Char on Friday afternoon

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her "prudent and decisive" action to relocate Rohingyas to Bhashan Char.

He said on Friday that the global leadership and UN agencies have been extending lip services to the persecuted people of Myanmar.

"Global leadership and UN agencies have been extending lip services to the persecuted people of Myanmar and making statements again and again. No one came forward either for their relocation nor sending them back to their country of origin - Myanmar," he told after successful relocation of the first batch of Rohingyas to Bhashan Char. 

The foreign minister said the relocation of Rohingyas is taking place in phases in order to avoid deaths and accidents due to landslides and other untoward incidents in the overcrowded hilly areas of Kutopalong where drug trafficking, flesh trade and law and order situation have been deteriorating and also to provide better living for the time being. 

Dr Momen said while the international agencies make noise about facilities in the Rohingya camps or Bhashan Char, no one had the courage nor sincerity to approach Myanmar to create a conducive environment leading to their repatriation to their own country in safety and security and in a dignified way for the wellbeing of Myanmar.

If these desperate people with no hope for future left alone, there is always possibility of pockets of radicalism and terrorism, and such may create an uncertainty in the region frustrating the ongoing development projects in Myanmar, said the foreign minister. 

Over the last three years, trade and investment from European, ASEAN, China, Japan and the UK have increased manyfold in Myanmar in spite of violation of human rights in Myanmar, Dr Momen observed.

He said none of the human rights organizations have started any blockade of those countries that are heavily investing in Myanmar nor asking for divestment as they did in the case of Apartheid in South Africa.  

"Fact of the matter is, Rohingya problem was created by Myanmar and they are the only one who can solve it," he said.

Dr Momen said all the international organizations and important countries of the world must commit themselves to approaching Myanmar in a meaningful way to resolve this crisis -- the sooner the better.

The relocation

In the face of growing concerns over the extreme congestion in the camps of Cox’s Bazar and to avert any risk of death due to landslides and other unwarranted incidents, the government has decided to relocate, in phases, 1,00,000 Rohingyas to Bhashan Char.  

Accordingly, in the first phase, more than 1,600 Rohingyas, who expressed their willingness voluntarily for relocation, were shifted to Bhashan Char on Friday afternoon.  

The Rohingyas were brought to Chittagong by buses and kept in a school at night.

They had dinner and started for Bhashan Char in the morning after having breakfast. The first batch reached the Bhashan Char around 3pm.

The relocation has become imperative to decongest the overcrowded camps in Cox’s Bazar that have temporarily been accommodating nearly a million of Rohingyas with many more thousands born each year, said the government. 

It said the deteriorating security situation due to prolonged stay of these frustrated people in Cox’s Bazar also compelled the government of Bangladesh to come up with a contingency plan and develop Bhashan Char from its own budgetary allocation. 

Accordingly, the government invested more than USD 350.00 million to develop the island. 

The 13,000 acres island has all modern amenities, year-round fresh water, beautiful lake and proper infrastructure and enhanced facilities, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said.

These include uninterrupted supply of electricity and water, agricultural plots, cyclone shelters, two hospitals, four community clinics, mosques, warehouses, telecommunication services, police station, recreation and learning centers, playgrounds, etc.