DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) — UN’s indecisiveness on repatriating persecuted Muslim Rohingya refugees to Myanmar puts the stability of the entire region at risk, Bangladesh’s prime minister has warned.
“Last month we witnessed the completion of six years of the mass displacement of the Rohingyas. Out of humanitarian concern, we have given shelter to those who fled their homes for safety,” Sheikh Hasina said in her address Friday at the 78th session of the UN General Assembly in New York City.
Expressing “frustration,” Hasina said the situation had become “unbearable” for Bangladesh, home to more than 1.2 million Rohingya Muslims forcibly displaced in August 2017 from Rakhine, a state on the western coast of Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
“The prolonged presence of the Rohingya in Bangladesh has caused serious ramifications on the economy, environment, security, and socio-political stability in Bangladesh.
“Uncertainty over repatriation has led to widespread frustration. This situation can potentially fuel radicalization. If the problem persists further, it may affect the security and stability of the entire region, and beyond,” Hasina said.
Delegates from Myanmar visited Bangladesh several times this year to initiate a small repatriation under a pilot project mediated by China but visible progress has yet to be made.
Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh mostly live in congested camps in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char, an island in the Bay of Bengal.
“Let’s bring those destitute people hope of a brighter future in their own land and thereby foster safety and stability in the region,” the Bangladeshi prime minister said.