Bangladesh has sought stronger support from the international community for speedy, safe and dignified repatriation of forcibly displaced Rohingya people to Myanmar. The international community was asked to enhance their support on the Rohingya issue at a high-level meeting held at the Prime Minister's Office here in the city on Sunday. Read: Rohingya people advocate for assurances of rights and citizenship PM’s Principal Secretary Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah chaired the meeting, while a number of foreign envoys and representatives of international agencies, stationed in Dhaka, joined the meeting. In the meeting, Bangladesh put emphasis on increasing international support for quick, safe, dignified and permanent repatriation of Rohingya to their home country, said a press release. "The only solution to this crisis lies in the dignified and permanent repatriation of the Rohingyas to their homeland, Myanmar," said the Principal Secretary. Read: Bangladesh must suspend pilot project to return Rohingyas to Myanmar: UN expert Raising the government's stance on the issue, he said there is no scope for integration of Rohingya with locals. Tofazzel Hossain sought cooperation from the participants to create temporary shelters for the displaced people. The UN resident coordinator in Dhaka highlighted the reduction in the allocations of the World Food Programme and other donor agencies for humanitarian and food assistance to Rohingya amid the global economic crisis. In the meeting, the envoys of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Palestine, Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait and China raised the stance of their respective countries and reiterated their commitments to extend support and assistance standing with any initiative of Bangladesh over the Rohingya crisis. Read: UNHCR to look after Rohingya families waiting for repatriation too Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, Public Security Division Secretary Mustafizur Rahman, PMO Secretary Mohammad Salahuddin and Disaster Management and Relief Secretary Kamrul Hasan were present. Saudi Ambassador Essa Yousef Essa Alduhailan, Chinese ambassador Yao Wen, UAE ambassador Abdulla Ali Abdulla Khaseif AlHmoudi, Qatar ambassador Seraya Ali Al-Qahtani, Turkiye ambassador Ramis Sen, Kuwait ambassador Ali Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Dhufairi, Oman ambassador Abdul Ghaffar Albulushi, Palestine ambassador Yousef S.Y. Ramadan, Iran ambassador Mansour Chavoshi, Chargé d'Affaires of Iraq Embassy Mohanad A.R Khalaf Al-Darraji, UN Resident Coordinator Gwyn Lewis and WFP country director in Bangladesh Dom Scalpelli, among others, took part in the meeting.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has urged the international community, including the British-Bangladeshi Diaspora to raise their voices in ensuring the voluntary, safe and sustainable repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingyas, temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh, to their homeland in Myanmar at an early date. He made the call when Nasim Ali OBE, Mayor of Camden of the UK , met the Foreign Minister on Tuesday afternoon at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Foreign Minister briefed the Mayor on the remarkable socio-economic progress of Bangladesh under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Also Read: Momen to attend OIC CFM in Mauritania, UN Water Conference in US Lauding the British-Bangladeshi Diaspora in the UK, both recalled their contributions into British society and economy and for being a vibrant and enterprising living bridge between our two countries over the past five decades. The Camden’s Mayor suggested for an appropriate event to recognize the high achievers of the British-Bangladesh Diaspora, particularly the elected representatives. They also discussed Bangladesh-UK cooperation on climate change.
President Abdul Hamid on Wednesday sought the cooperation of Belgium for a safe, peaceful and dignified repatriation of the displaced Rohingya people to their homeland in Myanmar. The president sought the support during the meeting with the visiting Belgium Queen Mathilde at Bangabhaban in the evening. President's press secretary Md Joynal Abedin briefed reporters after the meeting. Welcoming the queen, he said Bangladesh deeply values its relations with Belgium, Recalling with gratitude that Belgium was one of the first European countries to recognize Bangladesh in February 1972, he said since then, Belgium has been a steady supporter and partner in "our socio-economic developmental journey." Belgium has been providing continuous assistance to Bangladesh and this assistance is increasing day by day, the Hamid said. He referred the completion of 50 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Belgium in 2022 as a landmark occasion. "It gave us the opportunity to explore avenues to further widen and deepen our cooperation for the benefit of our two peoples," he said. Raising the Rohingya issue he told the queen that for the last five years, Bangladesh has been sheltering more than 1.1 million forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals (Rohingyas) who fled Myanmar due to persecution by the Myanmar military and security forces. Read more: Belgian Queen Mathilde to visit Rohingyas camps in Cox’s Bazar Tuesday "Not a single Rohingyas could go back to their country yet as the Myanmar government has done nothing to create the appropriate conditions for their return," the president said, calling the Rohingyas a big burden for Bangladesh. He called upon Belgium and international development agencies to take appropriate steps so that the Rohingyas can return to their country in a dignified manner. During the meeting, Queen Mathilde praised the socio-economic development of Bangladesh. She said Bangladesh has undoubtedly shown humanity by sheltering the forcibly displaced Rohingyas. Information and Broadcasting Minisater Hasan Mahmud, Belgian ambassador to Bangladesh Didier Vanderhasselt, secretaries concerned to the Bangabhaban and the ministry of foreign affairs were present.
Speakers at a session of exchange of views in Lisbon have stressed the need of recognising the contribution of the expatriates to the economy of Bangladesh. They also demanded removal of harassment and constraints that the expatriates face at the airports of Bangladesh and asked for more funding for expatriate’s dead body repatriation and financial assistance for needy expatriates and their families on their return to Bangladesh. Remarking that expatriates contribute to building of foreign currency reserve in Bangladesh, the speakers called on the Bangladesh government to keep an eye on the reserve lest it be leaked or wasted. As regards increasing remittance to Bangladesh, some of them urged the expatriate Bangladeshi businessmen to recruit more Bangladeshi workers in their businesses. Bangladesh Embassy in Lisbon arranged the event with the members of the Bangladeshi expatriate community in Lisbon on December 7 on ways to increase remittance from Portugal to Bangladesh. The session was held at the auditorium of the Chancery building of the Embassy. Leaders, businessmen, entrepreneurs, journalists and other members of the Bangladeshi community from Lisbon, Porto and other parts of Portugal attended the session. At the outset of the session, Bangladeshi expatriates were invited to express their ideas and recommendations on how to enhance the flow of remittance to Bangladesh through legal channels. Several community leaders, businessmen and general expatriates spoke. Read more: “Bangladesh can be the right place for investment from Brunei” The speakers expressed the feeling of satisfaction that expatriates had been playing a role in the socio-economic development of Bangladesh through their remittance. The speakers also acknowledged the importance of sending their remittance through banking channels. They also felt the need of formation of a Bangladeshi business association in Portugal. If formed, the association could play a critical role in pursuing their interests with the Portuguese authorities, they remarked. Some speakers also indicated that a ceiling set by the Portuguese government on the amount of remittance in a given period of time is hindrance to remittance of bigger amount through banking channel. They requested the Embassy to take up this matter with the Portuguese government to relax this ceiling. Ambassador Tarik Ahsan commended the Bangladeshi expatriates for sending to their dear ones in Bangladesh their hard-earned money that also helps development of the nation. He acknowledged their contribution to the economy of Bangladesh, particularly in maintaining external balance of payment. Ambassador Tarik mentioned that Bangladesh was currently the seventh largest remittance receiving country in the world. He said although Bangladesh received 24.78 billion USD in the financial year 2020-21, it was reduced to 21.03 billion USD in the last financial year 2021-22. He indicated that, in the current financial year, remittance flow declined in September and October, but picked up again in November. The Ambassador said if remittance-to-GDP ratio of Bangladesh, which is now 6%, could be at par with that of some of her neighbours, which is at least 9 %, Bangladesh annual remittance could reach 40 billion USD. Read more: Ensuring wellbeing of Bangladeshi expats is govt duty: PM He called upon the Bangladesh’s expatriate community to come forward to make Bangladesh a top remittance receiving country in the world and make Portugal a significant remittance sending country to Bangladesh. Ambassador regretted that sending remittance through non-banking channels helps money laundering from Bangladesh to foreign countries. He also remarked that transaction through illegal channels may give a better rate, but ultimately it does not benefit the recipients much. He argued that such illegal transactions lead to shortage of hard currency and consequent devaluation of Bangladeshi Taka, which leads to increase of cost of living in the country. He said that Bangladesh government has taken many steps to encourage remittance through banking channels. If necessary, more measures would be taken. However, he also stressed the need of consciousness of the expatriates to accept a little sacrifice in terms of lower rates of exchange for the greater interest of the nation. The Ambassador said that aftermath of covid19 pandemic, Ukraine War and sanctions have caused a crisis of price rise of food, energy and raw materials worldwide and Bangladesh is not aloof from this global crisis. He expressed the resolve that resilient people of Bangladesh including the expatriates, under the far-sighted leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, will overcome the challenges and make Bangladesh come out stronger. Ambassador declared that the Embassy of Bangladesh in Lisbon would like to honour the remittance senders of Portugal through a programme of conferring accolades on some remittance senders selected on the basis of some criteria.
Repatriation of the Rohingya refugees has become essential to finding a permanent resolution of the issue, speakers said at a webinar on Friday. The virtual seminar, titled ‘Rohingya Problem: Possibility of Repatriation”, was organized by the permanent mission of Bangladesh in Geneva in association with Legal Action Worldwide (LAW), marking the fifth anniversary of the largest exodus of Rohingyas to Bangladesh in 2017. In his introductory speech, Md Mustafizur Rahman, Permanent Representative and Ambassador of Bangladesh to Switzerland, said that a permanent resolution of the Rohingya problem will expedite regional stability and economic prosperity. “The United Nations and other countries can engage in meaningful discussions with Myanmar over the Rohingya issue. Bangladesh is working tirelessly with Myanmar and the international community to find a solution in this regard,” the Ambassador said. Read: Repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar ultimate solution: S Korea Speakers at the seminar emphasized on the creation of a convenient condition by Myanmar for the repatriation of the Rohingyas through restoring their rights as citizens and abolishing all the discriminatory laws. They also said that the quick settlement of all the cases that are currently running in the International Criminal Court (ICC) and International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Myanmar will help in the voluntary repatriation of the Rohingyas. The virtual seminar was presided over by Antonia Malvei, Chief of LAW. Priya Pillai, Chief of Asia Justice Coalition Secretariat, Nicholas Koumjian, Head of the UN’s Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, Shahidul Haque, Delhi University’s ICCR Bangabandhu Chair and Yasmin Ullah, a Rohingya activist, among others, spoke at the event.
Bangladesh has urged the United Kingdom to take one lakh Rohingyas from Bangladesh in addition to its request to the USA and Japan for sharing the burden. “I had requested the US Secretary of State and Japan to resettle some (Rohingyas). They have agreed to some extent which is a good news for us,” Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told reporters. The foreign minister made the remarks after attending a views exchange meeting on post-flood development programme organized by Sylhet district administration at the Sylhet Circuit House on Friday. Mosharraf Hossain, Sylhet Divisional Commissioner, Mohammad Mofiz Uddin Ahmed, Deputy Inspector General of Sylhet range, Md Nisharul Arif, Commissioner of Sylhet Metropolitan Police, Shafiqur Rahman Chowdhury, President (acting) of Sylhet district Awami League and General Secretary Nasir Uddin Khan spoke at the event as special guests. Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said as an essential component of an international, comprehensive humanitarian response, they are working to "significantly increase resettlement" of Rohingya refugees from the region, including from Bangladesh, so that they can rebuild their lives in the United States. Read: Rohingya Crisis: Japan for considering third-country resettlement in parallel to repatriation Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki has said it is "vital to consider third-country resettlement" in parallel to repatriation of the Rohingyas to their place of origin in Myanmar. “Accepting refugees through third-country resettlement is one of the permanent solutions. It is a way to share the burden of the refugee crisis among the international community,” said the ambassador. In December 2008, Japan decided upon a pilot programme to accept refugees from Myanmar through third-country resettlement as the first country in Asia. Until today, 54 families and 200 people, including Rohingya, were resettled through this scheme, said the Japanese Ambassador.
Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki has said it is "vital to consider third-country resettlement" in parallel to repatriation of the Rohingyas to their place of origin in Myanmar. “Accepting refugees through third-country resettlement is one of the permanent solutions. It is a way to share the burden of the refugee crisis among the international community,” said the ambassador. In December 2008, Japan decided upon a pilot programme to accept refugees from Myanmar through third-country resettlement as the first country in Asia. Until today, 54 families and 200 people, including Rohingya, were resettled through this scheme, said the ambassador. He hoped that they could consider further possibilities of Rohingyas’ resettlement in Japan with the guidance of UNHCR. Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said as an essential component of an international, comprehensive humanitarian response, they are working to "significantly increase resettlement" of Rohingya refugees from the region, including from Bangladesh, so that they can rebuild their lives in the United States. Naoki said Japan, together with Bangladesh and the international community, will do its utmost to create conditions for safe, voluntary, dignified, and sustainable repatriation to Myanmar. Japanese envoy said his country will continue to actively provide humanitarian support, paying close attention to the needs of the Rohingya people facing challenging circumstances. He made the remarks while speaking at a seminar titled “Rohingya Crisis: The Pathways to Repatriation” hosted by the Centre for Genocide Studies (CGS), University of Dhaka on Thursday. Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen spoke as the chief guest at the seminar. Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General on Myanmar Noeleen Heyzer, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, US Embassy Dhaka’s Regional Refugee Coordinator Mackenzie Rowe and Dr Imtiaz Ahmed also spoke. Ambassador Naoki said the fundamental solution to the Rohingya crisis is to realize the repatriation of the Rohingya refugees to their homeland Myanmar. Read: Myanmar conditions do not allow for safe, voluntary return of Rohingya: US “Japan will stand ready to cooperate with Bangladesh to this end. We commend the efforts of the government to start the repatriation early through the bilateral dialogue. I see the urgent need for early repatriation,” he mentioned. Given the current political situation in Myanmar, it is a challenging task, he added. Despite the difficulty, Naoki said, the international community must make the utmost efforts to support the government of Bangladesh and create an enabling environment for the early start of repatriation process. The ambassador said it is highly commendable that the government and the people of Bangladesh have shown a humanitarian stance and generously provided shelter to Rohingya refugees over the past five years. Japan will continuously support and show its solidarity with Bangladesh and Rohingya, he said. In January 2022, Japan provided US$ 2 million seed funding to UNHCR and WFP as the first donor to help operations on Bhasan Char. “Nevertheless, I believe that the situation in Bhasan Char could be more creative and sustainable,” said Naoki who has been to Bhasan Char twice. Since the coup in Myanmar on February 1st last year, he said, Japan has taken every opportunity to strongly urge the Myanmar military to immediately stop the violence; release those detained; and swiftly restore the democratic political system. The ambassador said Japan has also been working closely with the international community, including ASEAN countries, to improve the situation in Myanmar. “I believe that improving the situation in Myanmar, including restoring its democratic regime, is essential to achieving sustainable repatriation of Rohingya refugees,” he said. “Also, we must improve the condition in the Rakhine state, and Japan has been providing financial support for that,” he added. Five years ago, Myanmar’s military launched a brutal campaign against Rohingya – razing villages, raping, torturing, and perpetrating large-scale violence that killed thousands of Rohingya men, women, and children. More than 740,000 Rohingya were forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in Bangladesh.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said that rapid sustainable repatriation is the only solution for Rohingyas. Momen said this when the UN special envoy for Myanmar Noeleen Heyzer paid a courtesy call on him at his office on Wednesday. Both of them discussed ways for a fruitful solution for the displaced Rohingyas. The foreign minister informed the envoy that Bangladesh has given shelter to the 1.2 million Rohingyas considering humanity. But their long presence is creating various instabilities in the country including the socio-economic situation. He feared that delay in Rohingya repatriation can create disappointment among the Rohingya people and then they could be a threat to the security of this region. In response, Heyzer thanked Bangladesh for giving shelter to the Rohingyas. Read: Dhaka to reach out to global leaders at UNGA with Rohingya issue She expressed her firm commitment that she will work for Rohingya repatriation with the UN, the ASEAN and neighbouring countries. Heyzer, however, said the role of Myanmar’s government is very important in this case. Earlier on Tuesday, Heyzer visited the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar. She arrived in Dhaka Monday on a four-day visit.
Rohingyas from 25 of the 34 refugee camps in Ukhia and Teknaf gathered on Sunday demanding that they are repatriated to their homeland Myanmar. The rally started at 8 am at the 23 camps of Ukhia and two in Teknaf following staging human chains and demonstration. Chanting “Back to Home” slogan Rohingyas of all ages from every block of the refugee camps participated in the rally and requested the global communities to ensure their return to Myanmar. Also read: No alternative to collective plan to tackle cut in Rohingya aid: Experts
Bangladesh has called for early, voluntary, safe and sustained repatriation of the Myanmar nationals temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has expressed its willingness to work together to further the relationship with Myanmar alongside ensuring early repatriation of the Rohingyas to their place of origin in Rakhine state. "As an immediate and friendly neighbour, the people of Bangladesh have been persistent in developing mutually beneficial relations with the people of Myanmar and will work together to further the relationship," said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a message of felicitation on the occasion of the Independence Day of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Also read: Early repatriation of Rohingyas lead priority, FM tells UN expert On the occasion, the people of Bangladesh expressed greetings and felicitations to the people of Myanmar and wished them peace and prosperity. Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar district and Bhasan Char Island. Also read: MoFA trashes reports on learning centre closure in Rohingya camps