UN technical team to visit Bhashan Char this month: FS

DHAKA Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque today said the UN technical team is expected to visit Bhashan Char this month for observing the Bangladesh government's arrangement to relocate some forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals there from Cox's Bazar.

They (UN team) want to ensure some certain issues, and the process (relocation) will begin after that, he said while interacting with diplomatic correspondents at Foreign Service Academy in the capital.

He said the government would like to relocate Rohingyas to Bhasan Char on volunteer basis after completion of technical assessment by the UN expert team. We can do that. It's (relocation) possible, he added.

Terming the relocation plan as a temporary arrangement, the secretary said Bangladesh government will not force anybody to go Bhashan Char. Any relocation will be in voluntary nature. We want to relocate them for their betterment, he added.

The government of Bangladesh has already developed Bhashan Char island to accommodate some 100,000 Rohingyas.

Haque said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made it clear at the UNGA that the root cause of the Rohingya crisis needs to be addressed to get a sustainable solution of the crisis. Accountability is crucial for sustainable Rohingya repatriation, he said.

He said repeated Rohingya influx to Bangladesh from Rakhine have been taken place since long probably for accountability and justice issues that allegedly prevails in Myanmar.

Rohingya repatriation and accountability and justice issues are deeply interlinked, he added.

The foreign secretary said Bangladesh is working on both bilaterally and multilaterally to resolve the Rohingya crisis while it follows a two-prong approach over the issue humanitarian aspect and accountability and justice front.

We gave shelter to Rohingyas on humanitarian ground while another aspect is accountability and justice, he added.

Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar district and most of them arrived there since August 25, 2017 after a military crackdown by Myanmar, which the UN called a textbook example of ethnic cleansing and genocide by other rights groups.

In last two years, not a single Rohingya was repatriated as Myanmar failed to build trust among their forcibly displaced nationals that there is a conducive environment prevailing in Rakhine State to go back.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)