Swiss Confederation President Alain Berset has assured Bangladesh of continued support in providing humanitarian aid to the Rohingya people as well as ensuring their safe return to Myanamar.
Switzerland understands the magnitude of the challenge Bangladesh and the international community are going through to provide shelter and necessary services to more than 650,000 Rohingya refugees who have recently fled Myanmar, and the Swiss government is always ready to supports efforts to deal with the crisis, he told reporters after visiting Kutupalong Rohingya camp in Cox’s Bazar on Tuesday.
Arriving at the camp around 12:35pm, he listened to the plight of some Rohingya people who have fled Myanmar in recent months.
“I witnessed the tragedy of the people who fled their homes in Myanmar... families, children, elderly people... it has put Bangladesh and the international community under enormous pressure to provide shelter to the more than 650,000 people. The families that are arriving are seeking safety. Switzerland is always ready to provide technical and financial support according to Geneva Conventions,” he said.
The Swiss President, who is on a four-day visit in Bangladesh, also called for the full implementation of the report of the Kofi Annan-led Advisory Commission on Rakhine State to protect the lives of Rohingya in Myanmar. He also stressed for ensuring the safe return of the Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh.
He said: “The agreement on repatriation between Bangladesh and Myanmar is a positive step towards a solution of the current crisis. It will be important that all returns are voluntary, that they are safe and they are dignified.”
The Swiss President mentioned that Switzerland has good relations with both Bangladesh and Myanmar, and will support both the countries for the implementation of the agreement on repatriation of the Rohingya people.
Earlier, the Swiss President visited Cox’s Bazar Sadar Hospital to officially hand over some Swiss contributions, including hospital beds and medical equipment to the hospital management.
Switzerland pledged eight million Swiss francs [equivalent to $8m] at a conference in Geneva in October as emergency humanitarian aid for the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
On Monday, he announced that this year, Switzerland will provide an additional 12m francs [equivalent to $12m] for the Rohingya refugees.
The Swiss President left Cox’s Bazar for Dhaka in the afternoon.
According to Bangladesh government’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission, a total of 689,040 Rohingya people have crossed over to the country from August 25, 2007 till February 8 this year.