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US ambassador-designate: Rohingya the most important issue now

  • Published at 11:19 am September 7th, 2018
US Ambassador-Designate to Bangladesh Earl Robert Miller
Earl Robert Miller described Bangladesh as “a vital nation linking South and Southeast Asia and poised to play an even larger role on the regional and world stage”Collected

Earl Robert Miller praises Bangladesh for opening its border and sheltering fleeing Rohingyas

US Ambassador-Designate to Bangladesh Earl Robert Miller says the Rohingya crisis will be the top priority for him.

“If confirmed, I pledge to continue to have this issue be one of the top priorities, of the US mission in Dhaka,” he told the August 23 Senate confirmation hearing, reports Bangla Tribune.

He said it was unlikely that the Rohingya crisis would be resolved in the next two or three years. That is why the US is looking at schooling and livelihood training for the Rohingyas.

“It is also imperative that any repatriation be fully voluntary, safe, and dignified,” he added.

More than 700,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh since late August last year, after Myanmar’s security forces launched a brutal offensive targeting the ethnic minority.

The latest chapter in the Rohingya crisis unfolded after Rohingya insurgents attacked 30 police posts and an army base on August 25.

A UN panel, known as the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, said the military action was “grossly disproportionate to actual security threats.”

A top UN human rights official had described Myanmar’s offensive as “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” while, UN investigators said last month that the Myanmar military had carried out mass killing and rape of the Rohingyas with “genocidal intent.” 

Robert Miller, who has served in eight countries, said his first trip after coming to Bangladesh would be to the Rohingya camps “to see the ground reality.”

He praised Bangladesh for opening its border and sheltering the Rohingyas but opposed relocating the Rohingyas to an island.

The ambassador-designate said the US would continue to work closely with Bangladesh, the UN agencies and other international partners on the Rohingya issue. He said his country would continue to press Myanmar so that the Rohingyas can go back safely, voluntarily, and with dignity.

Why is Bangladesh important?

Miller described Bangladesh as a strategically important country. 

He said US and Bangladesh were passing through an important time in their bilateral relationship.

Bangladesh, the world’s eighth-largest country by population and third-largest Muslim-majority nation; it is known for its moderate, secular, and pluralistic traditions, he said.

Miller noted that Bangladesh aspires to become a middle-income country soon with an annual economic growth rate of roughly six percent. He said the country is an increasingly important trade partner and destination for US investment.

He described Bangladesh as “a vital nation linking South and Southeast Asia and poised to play an even larger role on the regional and world stage.”


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