JEDDAH: IRFAN MOHAMMED
Published — Monday 6 May 2013
Last update 12 May 2013 7:23 am
The solution to end the violence that has led to thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar for Bangladesh rests with the Myanmar government, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni told Arab News in an exclusive interview yesterday.
She said her country has raised the plight of Myanmar refugees in the OIC and the UN, but the issue is an internal matter that only Myanmar is able to solve. “(The) solution lies where the problem exists, and the solution has to be found within Myanmar.”
The Rakhine state of Myanmar has been wracked by sectarian violence. An estimated 500,000 Muslim refugees have crossed the border into Bangladesh, but only 29,000 are in the country legally. Rohingya Muslims have been the target of Buddhist-led attacks and their killings have been described by human rights organizations as ethnic cleansing.
Moni said the continuing attacks have taken a financial toll on Bangladesh since the influx of Burmese refugees has continued for the last three decades. She said her country is providing health care and education to all refugees.
She added that although her country is not a signatory to the convention relating to the status of refugees, Bangladesh has taken a humanitarian approach to the Burmese refugee problem.
“With our tragedy in 1970, where 10 million Bangla-speaking refugees took shelter in India, we have suffered enough and can understand the plight and pain (of the refugees),” Moni said.
At entry points where refugees have been denied entry, the Dhaka government provides fuel for boats and food while the government continues to negotiate with Myanmar.
Moni said Bangladesh is willing to handle the rehabilitation of refugees upon their return to the co untry.