Myanmar needs to feel more pressure to take back Rohingya immigrants, says Bangladesh PM
Sheikh Hasina says the international community must press Myanmar to speed its repatriation process
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Tuesday that more international pressure was needed on Myanmar to take back Muslim Rohingya refugees.
“The international community needs to put more pressure on Myanmar so that they take back their own people and ensure their security,” she told an audience in London.
“Myanmar says they are ready to take back the Rohingya, but they are not taking the initiative.”
UN officials say that since August nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh from the Myanmar state of Rakhine to escape a military crackdown, amid reports of murder, rape and arson by Myanmar troops and Buddhist vigilantes in actions which the United Nations has likened to “ethnic cleansing”.
Myanmar has denied nearly all allegations, saying it has been waging a legitimate counter-insurgency operation.
Hasina said that Bangladesh had submitted the names of 8,000 Rohingya families for repatriation to Myanmar, but that Myanmar had refused to take them back.
She disputed a claim by Myanmar that it had repatriated five members of a Rohingya family from Bangladesh, describing them as having been living in the no-man’s-land between the two countries.
“Maybe [Myanmar] wants to show the world they are taking them back. It’s a good sign. If they want, then why only one family? We have already submitted the names of 8,000 families, but they’ve not taken them back,” she said.
Hasina confirmed a plan to move 100,000 Rohingya refugees to a uninhabited low-lying island in the Bay of Bengal and dismissed fears that it would be put them at the mercy of floods.
“Bangladesh can always be flooding and it does. The camps are very unhealthy. We have prepared a better place for them to live, with houses and shelters where they can earn a living. Where they are living now, the monsoon season is coming up, there can be land erosions, accidents are taking place,” she said.