Rohingya refugees walk back after collecting relief aid during a rain storm at Balukhali refugee camp in Ukhia, Bangladesh, on July 21, 2018. (Xinhua/AFP)
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) — Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday asked for an early repatriation of Bengali-speaking Rohingya refugees from her country to Myanmar.
In her speech at the UN General Assembly General Debate, Hasina regretted the fact that repatriation has not started in a permanent and sustainable manner.
“Myanmar is one of our neighbors. From the outset, we have been trying to find a peaceful solution to the Rohingya crisis through bilateral consultations,” she said. “So far, three bilateral arrangements have been concluded between Bangladesh and Myanmar for Rohingya repatriation. Despite their verbal commitment to take back the Rohingya, in reality the Myanmar authorities are yet to accept them back.”
“The Rohingya crisis has had its origin in Myanmar. As such, its solution has to be found in Myanmar. … We want an early, peaceful solution to the Rohingya crisis,” said Hasina.
The Rohingya hosted in Bangladesh are living in an uncertain situation, she said. Bangladesh has made arrangements for their food, clothing, health care, child care and security to the best of its ability. Many countries and organizations, including the United Nations and the Commonwealth, have shown solidarity with the Rohingya and extended support and assistance for them.
Bangladesh has started working on a new housing facility for the refugees. “So long the Rohingya are not able to return home, they should, as a temporary arrangement, be able to live in a good and healthy condition,” she said.
The prime minister called upon international organizations to work with her country in the relocation of the Rohingya to the new facility.
According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), over 720,000 Rohingya, an ethnic Muslim minority living in mostly Buddhist Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State, have fled to Bangladesh since violence broke out in August 2017.
They joined another 200,000 Rohingya who earlier fled into adjacent Bangladesh, said the UNHCR.