PM insists immediate implementation of UN deal with Myanmar

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Desk report, September 28: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today insisted immediate and effective implementation of a UN agreement with Myanmar over the Rohingya crisis accusing the country of disregarding its commitment for their safe repatriation alongside denouncing the atrocities on the ethnic minority population there.

“We want to see immediate effectiveness of the UN deal with Myanmar . . .since the crisis erupted in Myanmar it has to be solved in Myanmar,” she said while delivering her statement in the 73rd UN General Assembly (UNGA) at UN Headquarters.

Sheikh Hasina added: “As a fellow human, we can neither ignore nor remain silent about the plight of the Rohingyas.”

The premier said the shocking UN report describing the atrocities and crimes against humanity against Rohingyas “dumfounded us” but she expected the international community and UN in particular to seriously look into the matter.

“The Myanmar situation repeatedly reminds us of the genocide committed by the Pakistan occupation forces against our people in 1971. During the nine months of our Liberation War, the Pakistanis had killed three million innocent Bengalis,” Sheikh Hasina said.

The premier said despite more than one agreement it reached with Bangladesh, Naypyidaw took no tangible step to resolve the crisis.

“All the time Myanmar made verbal commitments to take back the Rohingyas, but in reality the Myanmar authorities are taking no role,” she said.

The neighbouring country’s attitude upset Dhaka since “so far the process for permanent and sustainable repatriation of Rohingyas could not be started despite our (Bangladesh’s) sincere efforts”.

Bangladesh, she said, from the very outset of the crisis was trying to find its peaceful solution through bilateral consultations and so far, reached more than one bilateral arrangements with Myanmar for Rohingya repatriation.

She said some 1.1 million Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh were living in their makeshift camps in an uncertain situation though “to the best of its ability, Bangladesh has made arrangements for their food, clothing, healthcare, child-care and security”.

Sheikh Hasina said she could feel the pain and suffering of countless people around the world, persecuted and expelled from their homes like the Rohingyas and added “it is impossible to build peaceful, just and sustainable societies by ignoring such situations”.

She simultaneously recalled a five-point proposal she presented in the last year’s UNGA session with a view to finding a durable and peaceful solution to the sufferings of the forcibly displaced and hapless Rohingyas.

Sheikh Hasina, however, said until the Rohingyas could return home, they would be provided makeshift abode in Bangladesh in a healthy condition and towards that end she said, “We are taking steps to relocate them in suitable areas with facilities of education, health care and other needs”.

Sheikh Hasina extended thanks to the countries and organizations including the UN, the Commonwealth, and the OIC for showing solidarity with the Rohingyas and providing support and assistance for them.

She called upon international organizations to join hands with her government seeking assistance to help relocate the Rohingyas in a better place.

In her statement, the prime minister also highlighted the socioeconomic progress of Bangladesh with her stead position for international peace and security, women empowerment and commitment to the UN goals.

Sheikh Hasina congratulated Maria Fernanda Espinosa for being elected as the president of the 73rd UNGA and fourth female President of the UNGA and assured her of giving Bangladesh’s full support in upholding her commitment to the UN.

She also felicitated UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for his firm and courageous leadership in promoting global peace, security and sustainable development.

Appreciating the theme of the 73rd UNGA “Making the United Nations relevant to all people: global leadership and shared responsibilities for peaceful, equitable and sustainable societies”, the prime minister said the theme brings back some personal memories for her.