Rohingya refugee crisis: Bangladesh foreign secretary asserts 'solution must be found in Myanmar'

By FP Staff

Hard-pressed by the arrival of more than half a million Rohingya Muslims from Buddhist-dominated Myanmar since 25 August, Bangladesh on Friday said that the crisis cannot be solved by sending them across the border.

"Our position is very clear. The problem has been created in Myanmar and solution has to be found in Myanmar," ANI quoted Bangladesh foreign secretary Shahidul Haque as saying.

File image of Bangladesh foreign secretary Shahidul Haque. Reuters

He said that though Bangladesh was willing to help the Myanmar government, it also wanted the refugees to "go back as soon as possible."

"They (Myanmar) have shown initial interest to take back their own residents. The modalities are being worked out," Haque said, according to ANI.

Myanmar had made a proposal to Bangladesh on 2 October to take back the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who had escaped the country, during talks with the latter's foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali.

Haque said that the Bangladesh government had given Myanmar a written proposal of how the refugees could be taken back, adding that a working group has been set up for the issue.

Majority of them are Muslims but Hindus & Christians are also there: Mohd Shahidul Haque, Bangladesh Foreign Secy on issue of #Rohingyas pic.twitter.com/UEgluawqdW

— ANI (@ANI) October 6, 2017

The Bangladesh government had on Thursday announced its decision to identify the Rohingya refugees as "forcefully displaced Myanmar citizens."

The count of unregistered refugees, who began coming into Bangladesh from Myanmar from 25 August, has already exceeded 500,000. Disaster management minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya said that all the refugees would be brought under the biometric registration system. About 61,000 refugees have registered themselves so far.

To house all the Rohingya Muslims who have sought asylum from violence in Myanmar, the Bangladesh government on Thursday had announced it would build one of the world's biggest refugee camps.

In addition to the 2,000 acres meant to build temporary shelters for the Rohingya in Kutupalong and Balukhali, the government on Thursday said that it was allocating 1,000 acres of land for the accommodation of the refugees.

Authorities have begun the process of moving Rohingya refugees who arrived in Bandarban to the Kutupalong camp, and they will be brought back from other areas as well.

Various local and international relief efforts are be undertaken to meet the requirements of the refugees. The World Health Organisation alone is providing food for 520,000 people.

The Bangladesh government has planned to finish building roads within the Kutupalong camp by 10 October and have street lamps, health centres and police outposts in place by 15 October.

With inputs from agencies