State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam addressing the launching ceremony of a report by OXFAM on Rohingya Crisis in Dhaka on Tuesday, September 11, 2018. Photo: Courtesy/UNB
Bangladesh on Tuesday requested the international partners to intensify their campaign for a permanent solution to the Rohingya problem and ensure the safe and sustainable return of Rohingyas.
"The Myanmar authorities must demonstrate a strong political will as well as visible actions to address the discrimination against the Rohingyas," said State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam, reports UNB.
He said international humanitarian actors need to continue their persuasion with Myanmar for access to the Rakhine State so that these needs of Rohingya women and girls could be adequately addressed once they return to their homes.
Shahriar was addressing as the chief guest at OXFAM launch of the new report, ‘One Year on: Time to put Women and Girls at the Heart of the Rohingya Response’ in the city.
Australian High Commission in Dhaka Julia Niblett and Oxfam Bangladesh Country Director Dr Dipankar Datta were, among others, present.
Shahriar said security is an important component of Bangladesh government’s response to the Rohingya crisis.
More than 1200 law enforcement officials have been additionally deployed in 11 check posts.
To ensure security at night, the government has established a 13-km power line alongside installing 50 streetlights, 10 floodlights and 1040 solar lights to lit up the streets.
Besides, the World Bank and ADB have been requested to provide additional support to the ensure electricity inside the camps, Shahriar said.
"Bangladesh believes the problems of the Rohingya women and girls need to be resolved permanently and sustainably. For that, we’ve been engaged diplomatically both with Myanmar and with the international community," he said.
Bangladesh signed an “Arrangement of Return” with Myanmar in Nay PwiDaw. A Joint Working Group has been formed and a set of other arrangements have also been signed to implement the arrangement.
"Our past experiences suggest that Myanmar doesn’t fulfil its obligations unless pressurised by the international community," Shahriar said.
"We believe the strong public opinion around the world that seeks accountability of the perpetrators would help Myanmar address the root causes of the Rohingya problem and take effective measures for ensuring the basic needs of the Rohingyas when they return to their homes," he added.
The forced displacement of more than 700,000 Rohingya population within less than a year from neighbouring country Myanmar is considered to be one of the worst humanitarian crises of the world.
The unprecedented magnitude of inflow of Rohingyas since 25 August in 2017 created an accumulated figure of forcibly displaced Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh to about 1. 1 million.
The United Nations described the dreadful operations in Rakhine, which resulted in this mass exodus of Rohingyas a ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing’.
In its recent report, the Independent International Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar has termed the horrendous acts of Myanmar authorities as ‘genocide’, ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘war crimes’.
In the face of this unprecedented crisis, Shahriar said, Minister Sheikh Hasina has shown exemplary leadership by responding to the call of humanity and opening the border for the people in distress.
The number of forcibly displaced Rohingyas living in Bangladesh has crossed one million, he said.
"Despite constraints, we’ve faced the situation with courage and under the firm leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, mobilised massive humanitarian response to support the Rohingya community," said the State Minister.
With the support of the international community, Bangladesh has been able to tackle the massive humanitarian crises for the last one year.
The largest shelter project for the Rohingyas, known as the Kutupalong - BalukhaliRohingya Camp that hosts more than 600,000 Rohingya is situated in hilly lands belonging to the Forest Department.
An additional amount of BDT 41. 2 crore (equivalent to USD 4. 96 million) has been allocated for the Rohingyas in the current financial year. Rohingyas are provided with food, shelter, medical and WASH facilities, informal education, and other basic necessities in government and non-government establishments.
The State Minister said the government recognises the special needs of women and children and has provided customized humanitarian support for them. 34,338 pregnant women has been identified who are provided with necessary health services.
"As of now, 3554 children were within those facilities. Some 8170 tube-wells, 50,508 latrines and 11190 bathrooms have been established. Separate bath facilities with sheds have been built for Rohingya women and girls," he said.
Shahriar said the Rohingya women and girls have never had access to health services, education or any other income generating activities.
"Due to intergenerational experience of persecution and discrimination, they remain extremely vulnerable. On top of that, huge women and girls have faced sexual violence in Myanmar causing severe trauma and psychological breakdown," said Shahriar.
The international Fact Finding Mission’s report has stated, the scale, brutality and systematic nature of these violations indicate that rape and sexual violence are part of a deliberate strategy to intimidate, terrorise or punish a civilian population, and are used as a tactic of war.