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Humanity first

  • Published at 01:06 am July 11th, 2018
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Photo: MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

The government has been working tirelessly to meet even this challenge

When the Rohingya found themselves stateless and unwanted, with nowhere to go, many rich countries with the ability to help did not do so, choosing to shut their eyes to the ugly reality of what was going on in Rakhine state in Myanmar.

But thankfully, the Bangladesh government never forgot humanity.

When hundreds of thousands of forcibly displaced Rohingya refugees came knocking at our doors, the Bangladesh government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, put aside petty politics or logistical worries and embraced the refugee population.

These families from Myanmar have known nothing but suffering and persecution in their own land, and Bangladesh’s priority was to give them shelter when they were at risk of being killed, raped, or persecuted in other ways.

The challenge has been nothing if not daunting -- the World Food Program estimates that providing meals for one million Rohingya refugees costs nearly $800,000 per day.

But the government has been working tirelessly to meet even this challenge. 

Indeed, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said: “If we can feed 160 million people, we can feed another two or five or seven hundred thousand people.”

While providing food is one of the most basic and most pressing concerns, government initiatives to build infrastructure and provide security have also been laudable -- roads, tube wells, and toilets have been built, along with electrical and medical facilities.

It is Myanmar’s responsibility to safely take back the Rohingya and allow for international monitoring to ensure the killing stops, but in the meantime, we will not shy away from the challenge of doing the right thing.