See More on Facebook


Be more active, aggressive, says Dhaka

Dhaka urges int’l community to help hammer out sustainable solution to Rohingya crisis.

Written by

Updated: August 30, 2019

Bangladesh has urged the global community to be more aggressive to help thrash out a sustainable solution to the Rohingya crisis.

“Global leadership and international organisations have to be more active to compel Myanmar to make arrangements for the Rohingya return,” Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said yesterday.

“They [global leadership] also have responsibilities. We have appealed to them to be more aggressive and take initiatives to address the crisis,” he told reporters after a meeting with foreign diplomats and representatives of the UN and other international bodies in Dhaka.

It’s not a problem for Bangladesh only, but for the entire world too, he noted.

Asked about the international community’s response, he said they lauded Bangladesh for the way it is handling the crisis.

“The whole world is recognising what we have done,” Momen said referring to comments made by the foreign diplomats at the meeting.

He also communicated to the international community that Myanmar has been playing a blame game after the second attempt to repatriate Rohingyas failed.

None of the 1,276 Rohingyas of 339 families, interviewed by the UNHCR, volunteered to return to their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine State on August 22.

A similar repatriation bid also failed on November 15 last year as the Rohingyas said they had no guarantee of citizenship, safety or freedom of movement.

Since August 25, 2017, more than 743,000 Rohingyas fled violence in Rakhine and took shelter in Bangladesh. They joined some 300,000 others, who had fled previous waves of violence in Rakhine and took refuge in Cox’s Bazar. The coastal district is facing economic, environmental and social challenges due to the huge influx of refugees.

Momen came down hard on Myanmar for its August 22 press release in which it squarely blamed Bangladesh for what it said was the failure to send back the displaced people.

“Myanmar claimed that Bangladesh didn’t comply with the arrangements. In that context, we told the international community that we did all we could do.

“It is Myanmar’s responsibility, not ours, to convince the Rohingyas to return to their homeland voluntarily. They didn’t go to Myanmar because it didn’t play its due role,” he mentioned.

“Our responsibility is to arrange logistics. And we have done that. Myanmar gave a list of 3,450 Rohingyas and we immediately gave it to the UNHCR to learn about their willingness to return home. Representatives of Myanmar and China were also involved in the entire process. They have seen it.”

The foreign minister further said all the arrangements made by Bangladesh are transparent.

Referring to Myanmar’s claim that it created an environment conducive to Rohingya return in Rakhine, Momen said, “The Rohingyas don’t trust Myanmar. Myanmar should allow the UN and other international agencies to visit Rakhine State, and see their arrangements.

“Take the leaders of the Rohingya community and show them what you have done,” he said pointing at the Myanmar authorities.

“They [Rohingyas] are worried because they were persecuted there. They want safety, security and free mobility. Myanmar has repeatedly assured us that if the Rohingyas return [to Rakhine], they will ensure these.”

Myanmar should be accommodative on those demands and enhance its trustworthiness, the foreign minister said.

Asked about China’s fresh move to arrange a trilateral meeting between Bangladesh, Myanmar, and China, he said the date and the venue were yet to be fixed.

Momen also said the new Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh, Li Jiming, had a meeting with him at the foreign ministry yesterday and assured him of a more constructive role by Beijing in the Rohingya repatriation.

“The Chinese leaders agree that the repatriation of the Rohingyas is the solution. They say Myanmar has created the problem and it has to solve it. China is with us.”

Asked if the world community is shifting focus from the Rohingya crisis, he replied in the negative, and said they are supporting Bangladesh and the global opinion is in its favour.

Bangladesh has received a little more than a third of $920 million required for providing humanitarian assistance to the refugees this year.

“Foreign aid usually comes towards the end of the year. The same could happen this time too,” Momen said.

Asked about the allegations that some NGOs are discouraging Rohingyas to return to Rakhine, he said the government will take action if it finds evidence of such activity by any NGO.

On claims of presence of armed groups inside the camps, he said the government has no information about it.

He, however, said the authorities recently learnt about a group that made some sharp weapons at a camp.

“We are collecting more information on the group. They will be brought to book,” Momen said.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam and Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque were also present at the briefing.

Enjoyed this story? Share it.

Daily Star
About the Author: The Daily Star is a leading English-language daily newspaper in Bangladesh.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia

Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here


10 dead in Delhi in violent protests against controversial citizenship law, in the midst of Trump’s visit

Witnesses said Delhi police, who were outnumbered, did little to stop the violence, mostly standing by while groups pelted each other with stones, and vandalised vehicles and property. At least 10 people, including a cop, have been killed in India’s capital city Delhi since Monday (Feb 24), in a worrying outbreak of communal violence between those protesting a controversial citizenship law and groups who oppose them. The violence, marked by arson and stone pelting, continued on Tuesday less than 20km from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump were holding talks. Even journalists reporting on the spot were attacked and forced to delete pictures and footage. More than 100 people have been injured, accordin

By The Straits Times
February 27, 2020


Malaysia political turmoil: Search for new government continues as King meets 132 MPs in second day of interviews

The unprecedented move for the King to interview MPs individually instead of meeting party leaders appears to be in line with Dr Mahathir’s plan to form a grand coalition across the political spectrum. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong continues the search for Malaysia’s new government on Wednesday (Feb 26) by interviewing 132 MPs to see whether they back interim premier Mahathir Mohamad to continue leading the country. This will complete interviews of all 222 parliamentarians after those from the opposition were asked on Tuesday who they wanted as prime minister, or if they preferred a snap election. Those heading to the palace on Wednesday are from the now collapsed Pakatan Harapan (PH) government. The Straits Times understands that those still in

By The Straits Times
February 26, 2020


Mahathir made caretaker PM after Malaysia’s King accepts his resignation

After his resignation, the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition saw the departure of dozens of lawmakers that left it short of a majority in Parliament. Just hours after submitting his resignation to Malaysia’s King on Monday (Feb 24), Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was made caretaker Prime Minister. The King accepted Tun Dr Mahathir’s resignation, but appointed him interim Prime Minister, Chief Secretary to the government Mohd Zuki Ali said in a statement. Dr Mahathir will continue to run the country’s administration until a new prime minister and Cabinet are appointed, he added. All ministerial appointments were also cancelled with effect from Monday as a result of the prime minister’s resignation, the chief secretary said in a separate state

By The Straits Times
February 25, 2020


Vietnamese advised to avoid travel to coronavirus-hit areas in South Korea, flights not banned yet

The Consular Department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Vietnamese Embassy in South Korea has recommended Vietnamese citizens to avoid travel to areas affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and places vulnerable to the disease. The warning was made given the complex development of the COVID-19 in the RoK. Vietnamese citizens were also advised to keep a close watch and follow instructions of local agencies to prevent the illness. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked the Vietnamese Embassy in the RoK to work with local agencies to learn more about the situation, keep in touch with Vietnamese citizens in the country, establish a hotline and be ready to take protection measures when necessary. According to the embassy, as o

By Viet Nam News
February 24, 2020


Singdollar declines to near 3-year low on coronavirus fears

 Fall comes amid Asia-wide forex sell-off after South Korea infection spike, two deaths in Japan. The Singapore dollar fell along with most Asian currencies on concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. The local currency fell to its lowest level against the United States dollar since May 2017 at one point yesterday, before recouping some of the losses. It slid about 1 per cent to as low as S$1.4083 to the greenback, before paring losses to trade 0.3 per cent lower. South Korea’s won sank more than 1 per cent to 1,201.95 to the dollar. The baht, the most sensitive in Asia to tourism, dropped 0.7 per cent to 31.406 to the dollar. The sell-off in the region’s foreign exchange (FX) markets followed a spike in confirmed infections in South

By The Straits Times
February 21, 2020


China revokes press cards of 3 WSJ journalists in Beijing

According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang, the press cards of three Wall Street Journal journalists who are based in Beijing will be revoked from Wednesday. The press cards of three Wall Street Journal journalists who are based in Beijing will be revoked from Wednesday, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang. “The Chinese people do not welcome media that use racially discriminatory languages and maliciously slander and attack China,” Geng told an online press briefing Wednesday. On Feb 3, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled “China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia” by Professor Walter Russell Mead of the Bard College, which smeared the efforts of the Chinese government and p

By China Daily
February 20, 2020