‘Don’t give lame excuse not to take back Rohingyas’

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday told Myanmar not to show any lame excuse delaying construction of accommodation for Rohingyas, urging the country to take back its people immediately. “Don’t show any excuses. Take the Rohingyas back to your (Myanmar authorities) country immediately. It can’t be an excuse that when you construct their houses on a devastated land, then you will take them back,” he said.

He came up with this statement while talking to reporters after attending a seminar styled ‘Sustainable Development goals-3: Health and Welfare’ organised by Palli Karma Shahayak Foundation (PKSF) at its Agargaon office in the city on Wednesday. He said when the Pakistani occupation forces launched crackdown against the Bengali nation in 1971. As a result, millions of Bengalis were forced to cross the border taking shelter in India.

“But after the country’s independence, the people who had gone to India did not wait for construction of their houses. They returned to the independent Bangladesh and constructed their houses with their own hands,” the minister said. Observing that Bangladesh does not want to repatriate Rohingyas forcefully, the foreign minister said, “We hope Myanmar would be sincere about the repatriation of these displaced people.”

“It is the responsibility of the Myanmar government to convince these people (Rohingyas) to return to their homeland,” Momen said. “It is not clear whether Myanmar has built any shelter for Rohingyas or not,” he said it’s the duty of Myanmar government to ensure their security.

They should also make sure that their citizens feel safe enough to return, he added. Momen said an international group including ambassadors of different countries will visit Rakhine soon to see the situation there on the ground. “Although it is a temporary solution to stay in Bhashan Char, there has been no decision yet to relocate Rohingyas there,” he said adding that, “The real solution is to get the Myanmar people back to Myanmar.”

Health and Family Welfare Secretary Sheikh Yusuf Harun, PKSF Chairman Dr Qazi Khaliquzzaman and Prof Niaz Ahmed Khan of Dhaka University also spoke on the occasion.