Bangladesh seeks US help for Rohingya repatriation

  01 February 2019    Read: 2147
Bangladesh seeks US help for Rohingya repatriation

Credible pressure needs to be put on Myanmar so that the country develops a favorable environment for the Rohingya to return home, said Bangladesh’s foreign minister on Thursday, Anadolu Agency reports. 

AK Abdul Momen made the remarks on Thursday in a meeting in the capital Dhaka with Earl Robert Miller, the U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh.

Momen also raised the issue of creating a “safe zone” inside Myanmar’s Rakhine state for the Rohingya and sought cooperation from the U.S. in resolving the crisis.

On relocating some Rohingya to Bhashan Char, a remote islet at the entrance to the Bay of Bengal prone to natural disaster, Momen told Miller that around 100,000 Rohingyas are planned to be relocated there on a voluntary basis.

He stressed the Rohingya will have opportunities to earn a livelihood there, promising safety and saying the islands will be like Singapore.

Most of the 750,000-plus Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh currently live in the country's southeast in areas such as Cox's Bazar, after fleeing violence and persecution in Myanmar. 

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience."

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

The UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings – including of infants and young children – brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces.

In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

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