Dhaka urges EU support for Rohingya repatriationStaff Correspondent
The food minister, Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, on Tuesday called on
the European Union to support the repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh.
He said that about 24,000 registered Rohingya refugees were living in two camps in Cox’s Bazar while three to four lakh undocumented Rohingyas from the neighbouring Myanmar 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 cannot afford them for long with their number increasing as they can come to our land easily by spending only $2 each,’ the minister told reporters after a meeting with a delegation of the European Union at the secretariat.
Abdur Razzaque said that many of the refugees had become involved in criminal activities and the issue had become a burden for the country as this moment.
Esko Kentrschynshyj, head of unit at the European Commission Humanitarian Aid, led the seven-member team to the meeting with the food and disaster management minister.
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 Myanmar 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 permanent solution to the problem is to rehabilitate the Rohingya refugees in their homeland.
We have sought cooperation and support from other international agencies
also for their repatriation to resolve the two-decade problem,’ Abdur Razzaque said.
He said that the government’s policy was to encourage their repatriation and for that reason it had restricted activities of non-governmental organisations in the Rohingya refugee camp areas.
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.
The EU delegation also discussed rehabilitation of the victims of cyclones Sidr and Aila and reconstruction of coastal areas, especially Aila-hit Khulna and Satkhira.
The European Union would provide 20 million Euro for the rehabilitation of Aila victims and reconstruction of the areas worst hit by the cyclone, the minister added.
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