Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh’s prime minister, has asked the international community to turn their “words and hyperbole” over the Rohingya crisis into action in order to find a lasting solution to the long-running situation.
“We must move beyond words and hyperbole to take concrete steps toward the intended conclusion, which is also the Rohingyas’ greatest wish. Bangladesh would continue to cooperate with all parties till a solution is found “she stated
On Wednesday, the PM spoke at a high-level side event in New York on the “Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (Rohingya) Crisis: Imperatives for a Sustainable Solution.”
Bangladesh arranged the event, while eight other countries, including the UK, Ireland, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, cosponsored it.
A total of 23 speakers from cross-regional countries spoke at the event, moderated by Bangladesh’s permanent representative to the UN, Rabab Fatima.
All the speakers extended their solidarity with Bangladesh over the solution to the Rohingya crisis, Fatima said at a press briefing after the event.
Hasina mentioned that those displaced people are Myanmar nationals and they must go back to their homeland, Myanmar, in safety and dignity. “We all, especially the international community, must do everything possible to make this happen.”
She urged Bangladesh’s international allies and development partners to assist the country’s efforts in this area.
“The Rohingyas want to return to their homeland as well. The resolution of this humanitarian issue is a shared duty because its implications extend beyond national borders. Delaying a solution to this critical issue jeopardizes our common security.”
Growing discontent over the lack of progress in repatriation, according to the premier, tempts many to engage in illegal activities, making them easy target for extremist ideas. “This has the potential to destabilize the region as a whole. As a result, we must act quickly and decisively.”
Hasina made five ideas for resolving the conflict.
The ideas are as follows: securing sustainable repatriation, finding a solution to Myanmar’s current situation, ASEAN having a role, the UN implementing concrete steps and programs in Myanmar to create an atmosphere favorable to repatriation, and ensuring accountability for the Rohingya persecution.
“I’m encouraged by our main partners’ robust presence today. I trust you all share our worries and recognize the necessity for immediate action to address this critical issue “The Prime Minister stated.
She said Bangladesh held high hopes that these displaced people could go back to their homes in their motherland Myanmar in safety, security and dignity. “We reposed our trust in the global assembly and community for their repatriation. But Bangladesh’s calls have gone unheeded and its hopes unfulfilled.
“We are now in the fifth year of the crisis. Yet, we still hold the hope for a durable solution to this crisis,” she added.
Hasina said the government has maintained bilateral engagements with Myanmar. At the regional front, it has tried to take on board the major powers, including China and India.
She said Bangladesh has all along tried to have more active involvement of ASEAN. At the multilateral front, it has kept the issue on the table by UN resolutions engaging important countries and the UN agencies.
“Sadly, our efforts for the hapless, uprooted Myanmar nationals returning home to Myanmar has not generated any tangible outcome yet. Till today, not a single one of them could go back to their homeland.”
The PM said the government has ensured all necessary arrangements to make their temporary stay in Bangladesh safe and secure, despite its resource and land constraints.
She said Bangladesh haven’t forgotten to ensure the safety and welfare of the Rohingyas even in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic challenges. “We have included this population in our national vaccination programme.”
About the relocation of Rohingyas to Bhasan Char, Hasina said, “So far, we’ve relocated around 18,500 of these displaced people from the camps in Cox’s Bazar to Bhashan Char. The relocation is being done on the principle of voluntariness. We expect to see the start of the UN’s operation in Bhashan Char soon.”
She made it clear that whatever Bangladesh is doing is purely on a temporary basis.
The speakers highly commended Hasina’s bold leadership and said they would continue supporting Bangladesh over the issue.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, at the press briefing, said all the speakers agreed for an urgent solution to the Rohingya crisis, mentioning that the solution lies with their repatriation to Myanmar.
He stated that the Rohingya issue has not been pushed aside by the Afghan conflict.
In response to a question, the minister stated that while Bangladesh has no direct ties to Myanmar’s new military regime, Myanmar’s new government publicly stated that it would honor the instruments and agreements signed with Bangladesh over the Rohingya issue, and that it wished to resolve the Rohingya issue through bilateral channels.
The briefing was attended by Foreign Senior Secretary Masud Bin Momen and PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim.
PM’S LEADERSHIP LAUDED
Hasina’s leadership has been praised by Jeffrey Sachs, director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, for securing “tremendous” advances on several development and human indicators set out in the SDGs.
“You have been the driving force behind this extraordinary run of achievement. As a result, we’d want to personally extend our warmest congratulations to you “Jeffrey, a well-known economist from all around the world, said as much.
According to Jeffrey, the lessons learned from Bangladesh’s accomplishment in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are applicable to the entire world.
On the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry’s Facebook page, a video of his recent remarks at a program was published.