Early repatriation of the Rohingyas to Myanmar is a leading priority for Bangladesh, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, MP informed the visiting UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews.
Tom Andrews called on Dr AK Momen on Sunday (19 December) afternoon at the State Guest Padma.
Dr Momen congratulated Tom Andrews on his appointment. He highlighted the humanitarian gesture of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by extending temporary shelters to the huge number of Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMNs) Rohingya despite numerous constraints and challenges of Bangladesh.
Foreign minister said that to arrange early repatriation both countries signed three instruments soon after the exodus in 2017 where Myanmar agreed to ensure safe early return of the Rohingya to Myanmar. He regretted that despite Bangladesh's multiple attempts for repatriation since 2017 not a single one could return to Myanmar.
Momen highlighted that Rohingyas are receiving informal education in Myanmar language following Myanmar Curriculum in Bangladesh through around 3000 learning centers which would enable them to uphold their tradition and cultural values leading to their reintegration in Myanmar society on return.
He expressed frustration that some unauthorised privately run learning centering, madrashas and even coaching centers run by Rohingyas are promoting radicalism in camps following separate teaching materials and motives. The government has asked to stop those unauthorised activities, he added.
However, the authorised learning centers are continuing the learning activities with the support of Unicef and INGOs/NGOs following the government's Covid-19 related guidelines, the foreign minister said.
While describing the conditions on Bhasan Char, Momen mentioned that Bangladesh has developed the island as a temporary shelter for the FDMNs to de-risk and decongest the camps in Cox's Bazar spending $350 million from its own resources.
He hoped that the UN agencies will expeditiously engage to provide humanitarian assistance to the Rohingyas staying there and underscored that humanities assistance is required but the ultimate solution lies in the sustainable repatriation of the Rohingyas and the international community must work to realise that goal.
He advised the Rapporteur to visit Rohingyas living in Myanmar and in other countries in order to carry out his mandate.
Tom Andrews thanked Dr AK Momen for receiving him and extending every cooperation during his visit.
Describing himself as a "Friend of Bangladesh" the rapporteur assured to work in line with the priorities of Bangladesh for safe and dignified repatriation of the Rohingyas to Myanmar. He committed to taking efforts to visit Myanmar to see the ground realities prevailing there, engage with Rohingyas living in other countries and the humanitarian actors working in Myanmar.