Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said Bangladesh is not in a position to take any more people from Myanmar, emphasising the repatriation of Rohingyas who took temporary shelter in Bangladesh.
In an interview with the Bangla service of Voice of America (VoA) aired on Tuesday, she said Rohingyas should go back to their own country.
"It is not possible for us to take any more people," said PM Hasina, describing the burden amid Covid-19 pandemic, Russia-Ukraine war and subsequent sanctions due to which the whole world is suffering.
Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar and Bhasan Char and not a single person was repatriated to Myanmar over the last five years.
The prime minister described how the prolonged stay of the Rohingyas in Bangladesh destroyed forests in Cox's Bazar area, caused sufferings of the locals and how many Rohingyas got involved in drug trafficking, arms smuggling, human trafficking apart from getting involved in conflicts inside the camps.
"They [Rohingyas] need to go back to their own country," she said referring to Bangladesh's repeated calls to the international community for their safe return. "Everyone needs to understand [the situation]."
She described how in 1971, during the Liberation War, people from Bangladesh took shelter in India amid the Pakistani military's brutal crackdown.
"We saw sufferings [in 1971] with our own eyes," PM Hasina said, sharing her conversation with her sister Sheikh Rehana before allowing the Rohingyas temporary shelter in Bangladesh amid brutality against them in Myanmar.
Bangladesh has recently sought support and necessary steps from the international community to stop the violence in Myanmar so that it cannot create instability in the region and thus avoid the repatriation of Rohingyas.
Bangladesh conveyed its deep concerns on the recent incidents of mortar shells from Myanmar falling and exploding inside Bangladesh territory, indiscriminate aerial firings, human fatalities and serious injuries, damages to the properties and livelihood of the people in the bordering areas to the Asean envoys.
'Bangladesh media is free to criticise my government'
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that Bangladesh's growing media during her tenures has the freedom to say whatever they wish to say.
"After speaking all, if someone says that he/she's not allowed to speak, what would be the answer? That's my question," she told VoA.
The prime minister was responding to a question on the Digital Security Act (DSA) enacted by her government and its impact on freedom of media. She is now in Washington on a visit to the United States.
She said that Bangladesh had only a few TV and radio stations before she came to power in 1996 and those were controlled by the government.
PM Hasina said once she came to power, she made an opening for the private sector to run media houses freely.
She said there are around 32 private television channels that are now operational among the approved 44 TV channels.
The prime minister said people are taking part in television talk shows and they keep talking freely – true or false – and keep criticising the government.
She said there was no freedom of speech or movement when there was a military dictator in power.