PM urges Muslim Ummah to press Myanmar for Rohingya repatriation

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NEW YORK, Sept 27, 2018 – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called upon the Muslim Ummah to lead the campaign of mounting pressure on Myanmar for creating conducive environment for sustainable repatriation of the Rohingyas from Bangladesh.

“I urge the Muslim Ummah to lead the campaign of mounting pressure on Myanmar for creating conducive environment for sustainable repatriation of the Rohingyas from Bangladesh and ensuring accountability of the atrocities committed against them,” she said.

The prime minister was delivering her statement in a Meeting of OIC Contact Group on Rohingya Muslim Minority in the UN Headquarters.

The Permanent Mission of Saudi Arabia and the OIC Secretariat jointly organised the event, where OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef Al Othaimeen also spoke.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh underscores the importance of the OIC member states continuing to remain engaged in the United Nations system, including in the United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, as well as with other relevant international organizations to address the massive human rights violations against the Rohingya Muslims.

“Above all, we need to solve the issue at the earliest,” she said.

For homeless and hopeless Rohingyas, she said, she proposed five-point action last September for resolving the Rohingya crisis peacefully.

“It is a matter of great regret that the repatriation process is yet to start,” she said.

The premier thanked the OIC member states for taking some concrete steps over the year. “Our sincere appreciation goes for the formation of the OIC Adhoc Ministerial Committee for Addressing the Accountability Issue. Yet, there has not been enough tangible progress in implementing the resolution,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina reiterated that the Rohingya crisis is a political one deeply rooted in Myanmar. “Thus, its solution has to be found in Myanmar,” she said.

The premier said more than a year has passed since the Rohingya Muslims from the Rakhine State of Myanmar started crossing the border into Bangladesh as victims of ‘Genocide’ in their centuries-old homeland.

“We cannot just ignore the plight of the forcibly evicted Rohingyas in one of the largest displacements in the human history. Currently we are hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Bangladesh,” she said.

The premier said this tragic fate of our Rohingya Muslim brothers and sisters is nothing new and the current exodus of Rohingyas from Myanmar to Bangladesh is the third major exodus and the biggest one.

“Thus, repatriation of the Rohingyas to their homeland alone does not seem to be the sustainable solution to the problem, rather the aggravation of situation brings two questions before the prevention of similar incidents in future,” she said.

These are the question of collective responsibility and accountability; and the question of ensuring rights and privileges of the Rohingyas by Myanmar, she added.

Sheikh Hasina said it is the people of Bangladesh, who are bearing the brunt of the Rohingya crisis, time and again.

“My government stood by the Rohingyas by opening the border and providing emergency support, having been guided by our morale and human principles,” she said.

She, however, said Bangladesh’s resolution to humanity should not be penalized and the prolonged presence of the Rohingyas in Bangladesh poses serious challenges to its economy, environment and security.

“As a responsible neighbour, my government has been engaging with Myanmar in finding peaceful solution, from the very beginning,” she said.

The premier said Bangladesh has signed two instruments for repatriation of the Rohingyas from Bangladesh to Myanmar.

“However, persistent international pressure can only complement the bilateral front to change the well-planned political position of Myanmar for annihilating an entire race,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina urged the OIC to play more proactive role in mitigating the plights of the Muslims and said the OIC member states have to find out why the Muslims across the world are being subjected to repression, torture and eviction.

“Why Muslims are fighting against each other? If there is any problem or discontent that should be resolved through dialogue bilaterally or regionally,” she said.bss