Mohammad Ishaq was just one of a handful of Rohingya refugees who was able to have a prolonged conversation with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her visit to Kutupalong Refugee Camp on Tuesday.
Hours after the conversation, Ishaq sat with the Dhaka Tribune to recount his meeting with the Bangladesh premier.
“I did not even dream of having a word with Sheikh Hasina in person,” he said, repeatedly wishing the prime minister a long and prosperous life.
Ishaq, who entered Bangladeshi territory a week ago nursing bullet injuries and bruises from the torture of Myanmar army forces, added that the experience of meeting Sheikh Hasina was "dream-like".
After he had recounted to her the tales of persecution he faced since the renewed military crackdown began in Rakhine last month, Ishaq said the Bangladesh prime minister told him: “Do not worry. Everything will be fine. We are trying our best to stand by you on humanitarian grounds. The international community is creating pressure on Myanmar so that all of you can return home to a peaceful environment.”
Though it had been planned for 115 Rohingya refugees, including women and children, to meet the prime minister in this manner, her commitments distributing aid at the camp throughout the day meant only four, including Ishaq, were able to.
Violence erupted in the Rakhine State on August 25, forcing almost 390,000 Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh in a new wave of refugees.