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Dhaka Tribune

Mia Seppo: UN recognizes enormous investment in Bhashan Char

Resident Coordinator says all UN agencies recognise the generosity of Bangladesh in hosting Rohingyas

Update : 05 Dec 2020, 09:47 PM

UN Resident Coordinator in Dhaka Mia Seppo on Saturday said the UN and its all the agencies recognise the enormous investment that the government of Bangladesh has made in building Bhashan Char for Rohingya relocation.

"We recognise the enormous investment...that's obviously a sign of the search for solutions in managing the situation," she told reporters after attending a program marking the International Volunteer Day.

The government invested more than $350 million to develop the 13,000-acre island with all modern amenities, year-round fresh water, beautiful lake and proper infrastructure and enhanced facilities, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).

These include uninterrupted supply of electricity and water, agricultural plots, cyclone shelters, two hospitals, four community clinics, mosques, warehouses, telecommunication services, police station, recreation and learning centers, playgrounds, etc.

The UNRC said the ultimate solution to the Rohingya crisis, of course, lies in Myanmar and it is Myanmar's responsibility to create conducive conditions for return of Rohingyas to their place of origin in Rakhine State.

She said all the UN agencies recognise the generosity of Bangladesh in hosting Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar. "That's a difficult situation."

Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar, and majority of them entered Bangladesh since August 25, 2017 amid military crackdowns against Rohingyas by the Myanmar security forces.

Also Read - 1,642 Rohingyas arrive at Bhashan Char, settle in

In the face of growing concerns over the extreme congestion in the camps of Cox’s Bazar and to avert any risk of death due to landslides and other unwarranted incidents, the government has decided to relocate, in phases, 1,00,000 Rohingyas to Bhashan Char.

Accordingly, in the first phase, more than 1,600 Rohingyas, who expressed their willingness for relocation, were shifted to Bhashan Char on Friday afternoon. 

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Friday said the global leadership and the UN agencies have been extending lip services to the persecuted people of Myanmar and making statements again and again but no one came forward either for their relocation or sending them back to their country of origin -- Myanmar.

The foreign minister said the relocation of Rohingyas is taking place in phases in order to avoid deaths and accidents due to landslides and other untoward incidents in the overcrowded hilly areas of Kutupalong where drug trafficking, flesh trade and, maintain law and order and provide better living for the time being.

Dr Momen said while the international agencies make noise about facilities in the Rohingya camps or Bhashan Char, no one had the courage and sincerity to approach Myanmar to create a conducive environment leading to their repatriation to their own country in safety and security and in a dignified way for the wellbeing of Myanmar.

Also Read - Rohingyas satisfied with Bhashan Char facilities

If these desperate people, with no hope for future, left alone, there is always a possibility of pockets of radicalism and terrorism, and such may create uncertainty in the region frustrating the ongoing development projects in Myanmar, said the Foreign Minister.

Over the past three years, trade and investment from European, Asean, China, Japan and the UK have increased many fold in Myanmar in spite of violation of human rights in Myanmar, Dr Momen observed.

He said none of the human rights organisations have started any blockade of those countries that are heavily investing in Myanmar nor asking for divestment as they did in the case of Apartheid in South Africa. 

"The fact of the matter is the Rohingya problem was created by Myanmar, and they are the only one who can solve it," he said.

Dr Momen said all the international organizations and important countries of the world must commit themselves to approach Myanmar in a meaningful way to resolve this crisis, the sooner the better.

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