US urge Bangladesh to allow Rohingya

Chittagong, Bangladesh: The United States yesterday urged Bangladesh to allow Rohingyas if they escape from violence in Burma’s Arakan state, according to official sources.
It also asked to permit non-government organizations to provide humanitarian assistance in the refugee camps, but don’t push back Rohingya to Burma.

The call was made by visiting US Senior Advisor on Burma Judith Cefkin during meetings with the senior officials of the foreign ministry in the morning of February 2.

Dhaka confirmed that it would continue to pursue dialogue with Burma to resolve the issue of early repatriation of refugees and undocumented Rohingyas bilaterally.

Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque led a team comprising the foreign office director generals of the UN, South East Asia and Americas divisions.

Bangladesh has been preventing Rohingyas fleeing the violence from Arakan state since mid-2012, and also banned operations of three international NGOs in Cox’s Bazar in July 2012 for illegally providing aid to Rohingya.

There are 30,000 registered refugees in the two official camps, while more than 300,000 unregistered refugees from Burma live in makeshift camps and in villages.

The US official thanked Bangladesh for sheltering Rohingyas and other undocumented population from Burma over the decades. But she requested not to turn away those fleeing the sectarian violence, persecution in Rakhine, the source added.

Cefkin just requested to allow NGOs having global experience in providing humanitarian assistance, like health, education, to the Rohingya refugees, the official added.

Cefkin said Washington was actively engaged in dialogue with the Burmese government on restoring peace and stability in Arakan state for ensuring safe return of Rohingyas from Bangladesh.

Cefkin, who came in Bangladesh on February 1 and left for Burma yesterday, said the US was aiding the Bangladesh government through UNHCR and International Organization for Migration and other NGOs to support the Rohingya people.

“Rohingya refugees should be treated with dignity so they hopefully would not be tempted to any nefarious activities,” she said
Besides, the Bangladesh government will continue dialogue with Burma for an early repatriation of Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam said on February 2.

He said “The newly elected government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will continue with its pro-active foreign policy towards strengthening every facet of its relations with the immediate neighbor Myanmar for reaching higher trajectories of bilateral as well as regional trade, economy and connectivity.”

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