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Foreign minister: No Rohingya returned from Saudi Arabia

  • Published at 07:15 pm February 12th, 2020
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen BIMSTEC
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen speaks at the inaugural function of BIMSTEC Traditional Healthcare Expo-2020 in Dhaka on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 PID

No Rohingya travelled abroad or returned home with Bangladeshi passport, he says

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said no Rohingya had returned to Bangladesh from Saudi Arabia or any other country.

"We do not know about any Rohingya going to Saudi Arabia or returning with a Bangladeshi passport," he said at the inaugural function of BIMSTEC Traditional Healthcare Expo-2020 at the International Convention City Bashundhara (ICCB), in Dhaka, on Wednesday, reports UNB.

He said no Rohingya travelled abroad or returned home with Bangladeshi passport.

Regarding Rohingyas holding Bangladeshi passports in Saudi Arabia, the foreign minister said, neither the Bangladesh embassy nor the Saudi government has officially informed Dhaka about this.

Mentioning that many expatriates in Saudi Arabia are Bangladeshis without jobs, the minister said: “It is natural that if you do not work, you will come home."

‘Traditional Medicine Part of Development Process’

Laying emphasis on exploring regional and international cooperation and support, to further strengthen the existing cooperation mechanism in the field of traditional medicine, Abdul Momen said: “The Traditional Medicine Systems (TMS) have been playing a significant role in the overall public health care and well-being of the people in the Bay of Bengal region.”

"Traditional medicine has substantial contributions to the national economies of the member states of BIMSTEC," he said.

The foreign minister said that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman took initiatives to include Traditional Medicine in 1973 to ensure primary health care services to the poor and underprivileged people of the country.

Over the last 10 years, he said, Bangladesh made remarkable progress in the health sector under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The foreign minister said traditional medicine has been a part of this development process and the incumbent government incorporated traditional medicine in the election manifesto of 2018. "We are happy to see an increasing number of people receiving Unani and Ayurvedic treatment nowadays."

Dr Momen said, Bangladesh government set up facilities to provide traditional medicine in the existing government hospitals at the district and upazila levels along with allopathic medicines.

"I am happy to learn that we have a future plan to establish one Unani and Ayurvedic Graduate College in each of the three divisions of Chittagong, Rajshahi and Barisal and one National Research Centre of Unani and Ayurvedic system of medicine in Bangladesh," he said.

Formation of a separate Council for Unani and Ayurvedic is in the pipeline, he said.

‘BIMSTEC, A Key Regional Forum’

In Bangladesh, Dr Momen said, it was Bangabandhu, who for the first time dreamt of working together with the neighbours in South Asia after our independence.

He said BIMSTEC is now one of the most important regional forums. "It was Bangabandhu’s able daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who had been at the helm of Bangladesh Government during the time of the birth of BIMSTEC regional forum back in 1997."

Public Health is one of the core areas among the 14 sectors of cooperation under BIMSTEC.

Dr Momen said the two-day event and the sideline brain storming sessions will facilitate a comprehensive series of debates and deliberations on all relevant aspects and issues related to problems and prospects of traditional medicine and its role in public health cooperation among BIMSTEC member states and they will find out suitable recommendations for the policymakers.

AFM Fakhrul Islam Munshi, chief coordinator of the Organizing Committee of BIMSTEC Traditional Healthcare Expo-2020, ABM Ghulam Mostafa, president of Bangladesh Ayurved Foundation, M Shahidul Islam, secretary general of BIMSTEC, Riva Ganguly Das, high commissioner of India, Dr A Roghu, joint adviser of Ministry of Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AUSH) of Indian Government, Rajeev Singh, director general of Indian Chamber of Commerce, ambassadors and high commissioners in Dhaka from the BIMSTEC member states were present.