Thursday, 13 August 2020

Chittagong, Bangladesh: We cannot afford Rohingya for long with their number increasing as they can come to our land easily by spending only $2 each, said Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, the food and disaster management minister to the reporters after a meeting with a delegation of the European Union at the secretariat for support to repatriate the Rohingya refugee on March 13.

The statement came out after Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, the food and disaster management minister called on the European Union to support the repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh on March 13.

The minister said, about 24,000 registered Rohingya refugees were living in two camps in Cox’s Bazar while three to four hundred thousand undocumented Rohingyas from the neighboring, Burma, were staying illegally along the coastal belt and other parts of the country, causing serious social problems to the nation.

“The Rohingyas are not only causing social problems but also posing a threat to our economy.”

“We charge 500 taka for a trip – Teknaf to Maungdaw,” said Anwar, a ferry boat member from Tekanf who run ferry for border pass. “We are going legally. You have to pay more money, if you are going illegally to cross the border.”

Esko Kentrschynshyj, head of unit at the European Commission Humanitarian Aid, led the seven-member team include EU head of delegation in Dhaka William Hanna, Attache Fabrizir Senesi, David Hill of humanitarian aid organization in Dhaka, technical specialists of the organization Oliver Brouant, Abdul Awwal and Christopher Gadrey to the meeting with the food and disaster management minister. 

At a meeting, the minister urged the EU delegation to settle the problem, by sending the Rohingyas back to their homeland in Burma.

The EU delegation informed the minister that the European Union was also taking a 100 million Euro project for the rehabilitation of the Muslim ethnic minority group in their homeland Burma on return from Bangladesh.

The EU inquired about the Rohingya refugee situation in Bangladesh and expressed their eagerness to help the agencies working with the refugees who had fled the Arakan state of Myanmar in the face of persecution by the Myanmar government in the early 1990s.

The delegates also expressed their intent to support the NGOs (non-government organisations) in Cox's Bazar working for the welfare of the refugees, according to the foods minister to reporter after meeting.

“The government’s policy was to encourage their repatriation and for that reason it had restricted activities of non-governmental organizations in the Rohingya refugee camp areas.”

“No NGO is allowed to work there without prior approval of the local administration,” he informed the delegates, adding that such restrictions were imposed to discourage the influx of the Rohingyas.

The NGOs now required approvals of the local administration before taking up any projects in the particular area, the minister said in reply to a question, adding that the government was doing its best for the welfare of the registered refugees.

“We are not against the activities of the NGOs. The government has also done many things for Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds but we should not encourage more of them to come to Bangladesh,” the minister said.