Former Kansas governor and United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback visited the Cox’s Bazar Rohingya camps on Wednesday, accompanied by American Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat.
Brownback said that the highest officials of the US government as well as its people are greatly interested in helping the Rohingya refugees.
“The president, vice-president, and congress are all watching the situation closely. They want justice for the Rohingyas. They want them to be able to go home. This issue has captured a lot of interest in the United States,” said Sam Brownback.
Both diplomats spoke to Rohingya refugees about their ordeals and inquired about the key reasons behind the ethnic cleansing. Brownback then shared some of the experiences he had heard from Rohingya refugees with journalists.
“Everybody that I spoke to today said that they believe their religion was the main reason behind the persecution they faced,” said Sam Brownback.
During their visit to the UNHCR transit centre following a stopover at the zero point, US Ambassador Marcia Bernicat said Myanmar’s repatriation exercise is more for show than actual effect.
“This family never entered Bangladesh, so they have not technically been repatriated. Moreover, this was done completely outside of the framework that the government of Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to. Therefore, this is difficult to recognize as anything other than a unilateral act on Myanmar’s part which serves whatever purpose they believe it does, but does not represent successful repatriation,” said Marcia Bernicat.
The US Ambassador also mentioned that they are working to ensure the repatriation of the Rohingya refugees.
“We have set a strong tone of voice and it will remain strong. I think as difficult as the task is, it is wrong to assume that repatriation will not happen. This is our goal because Rohingyas themselves have told us that they want to go,” said Bernicat.
Meanwhile, Brownback said the US government and people are going to push the repatriation process to bolster the strong international effort that already exists.