- Published on Tuesday, 12 September 2017 14:58
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Bangladesh has called on Myanmar to end violence against Rohingyas as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visits refugee camps in the southeastern part of the country.
“We urge the Myanmar government to stop this violence against innocent people,” she said on Tuesday.
“They should investigate and identify those truly guilty. We will do all we can, as a neighbour, to support this endeavour,” Hasina said while on a visit to the Cox's Bazar border district where she distributed aid.
She said that while Bangladesh was giving refuge to the Myanmar minority on humanitarian grounds, no attempts to plan or conduct militant activity would be tolerated.
"Myanmar will have to take back all Rohingya refugees who entered Bangladesh," she said, adding "We want peaceful relations with our neighbours."
The prime minister flew to Cox's Bazar from capital Dhaka on Tuesday and then travelled by road to the Kutupalong refugee camp in bordering Teknaf.
She spoke to several of the men, women and children who had fled Myanmar’s Rakhine and were now seeking shelter at the camp.
What is happening in Myanmar is a ‘violation of human rights’, the prime minister said in her short speech before distributing aid.
“It is difficult to stem one’s tears when we see the situation. People deserve to live like people. Why should they suffer so?”
Hasina also questioned Myanmar’s decision to change its laws and prevent its 1.1 million Rohingya residents from receiving citizenship.
“Innocent people would not be in danger if that decision had not been taken. But it is they who suffer! The situation is truly unbearable. Why such oppression? They are your own people.”
In addition to sister Rehana and daughter-in-law Peppi Kiviniemi-Siddiq, an IOM official, the prime minister was accompanied by Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, State Minister for Defence Mosharraf Hossain and State Minister for Land Saifuzzaman Chowdhury during the visit.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, Cox’s Bazar MP Abdur Rahman Badi and Inspector General of Police AKM Shahidul Haque were present at the camp at the time of Hasina’s arrival.
On Monday, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said that the prime minister was working in earnest for a solution.
“She is holding several meetings with those involved. She will lay out the path toward a solution during her visit to the Kutupalang camp,” he told the media in Cox's Bazar during an inspection of the refugee camp.
The prime minister will also provide details on the steps taken by the diplomatic and international community to provide refuge to the Rohingyas, temporary housing and rehabilitation, strategies for the future and plans to return the Rohingyas home to Myanmar, he said.
Foreign diplomats working in Dhaka will travel to inspect the situation of the Rohingya refugees on Wednesday, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali has said.
Almost 313,000 Rohingya refugees fled to Bangladesh after the Myanmar army unleashed a ‘clearance operation’ at Rakhine state in response of attacks by Muslims insurgents on 30 security posts on Aug 25.
Bangladesh had already been sheltering nearly half a million Rohingya Muslims who over the past decade have fled persecution in the Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
Nearly a hundred corpses of Rohingyas, including those of children, have washed up in the Naf River between Bangladesh and Myanmar border since the exodus began. Several injured refugees were admitted at hospitals in Chittagong.
The government has decided to collect biometric data from the refugees for a database.