The Unicef Goodwill ambassador calls on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after visiting Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar
Unicef Goodwill Ambassador and Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra on Thursday said the world should learn from Bangladesh how to stand beside the distressed humanity.
She also appreciated Bangladesh, particularly Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, for taking the burden of sheltering more than one million displaced Rohingyas in Bangladesh, who fled persecution in Rakhine state of Myanmar.
Priyanka came up with the appreciation during a courtesy call on Hasina at her official residence, Ganabhaban, in Dhaka in the afternoon.
The prime minister’s Additional Press Secretary Nazrul Islam said Priyanka shared some experiences of visiting the Rohingya camps in Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar for the last three days, particularly the sufferings of the children, with Hasina.
"I found one kind of healing inside the Rohingya children," Priyanka said giving an example of her experience during her last visit to the Rohingya camps in 2017.
"Earlier, when I visited the Rohingya camps I asked the children to draw a picture, and they responded with drawing pictures of arms, gunfire and mortar shells from roving helicopters. But this time when I told them to do the same, they drew pictures of sun, animals and nature," she said.
"It's a testimony of their inside healing and it could be possible due to your motherly shelter and security," Priyanka told the prime minister.
Sheikh Hasina’s sister Sheikh Rehana and other family members were also present during the meeting.
Mentioning the hazardous situation for the children in the camps, Priyanka, on behalf of Unicef, called upon the international community to extend all-out support to the Rohingyas.
Priyanka told the prime minister that she was concerned about the possibility of a “generation loss” of a particular ethnicity as a large number of children have no access to education as they are passing their days roaming around.
"The children might have gone astray and even become extremists if they're deprived of the opportunity of having education," she observed.
Hasina said her government had given shelter to the Rohingyas solely on humanitarian grounds as the people of Bangladesh had experienced the same situation in 1971.
She recalled her refugee life abroad after the killing of her parents in 1975, saying: "Those incidents taught us to stand beside humanity during their bad time."
Hasina said her government had been making efforts to give the Rohingyas all the support, but it was not possible for the government alone to mitigate their sufferings.
Unicef and other international agencies should come forward with more support, she said.
Pointing out the government's initiative to relocate the Rohingyas to a safe zone at Bhasanchar Island, the prime minister said they would be able to live there in a better environment.
The cyclone-shelter like centres have been constructed there with various facilities, she said adding that the refugees would have education and health support as well as job opportunities, Hasina said.
About the healthcare facilities extended by the government to the Rohingyas, the prime minister said her government had taken steps for vaccination in the shelter camps and all the government and private hospitals and clinics had been asked to provide medical services to the Rohingyas as much as possible.
Mentioning about the signing of an agreement with Myanmar for the repatriation of the Rohingyas to their homeland, Hasina said unfortunately Myanmar authorities were not working according to the deal.
Priyanka arrived in Bangladesh on Monday on a four-day visit to draw the world's attention to the children of displaced Rohingya nationals of Myanmar, who have taken shelter in camps in Cox's Bazar.