Dhaka not bound to open border, says DipuStaff Correspondent
Foreign minister Dipu Moni on Thursday iterated that Bangladesh was not bound under any international laws to open its border to Rohingya refugees and asked international community to mount pressure on Myanmar to allow aid agencies to carry out humanitarian activities inside Myanmar.
Dhaka’s statement came after international rights groups, non-government organisations and Washington requested Bangladesh to keep its border open to allow Rohingyas fleeing sectarian violence in Myanmar to enter and take shelter in the country.
Dipu Moni said that the Myanmar government had complained that Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and some Rohingya organisations (operating inside Bangladesh) were ‘instigating sectarian violence in Myanmar by providing Rohingyas with arms and ammunition.’
Referring to the call of some international organisations, NGOs and donor agencies for Bangladesh to open its border to Rohingyas, the foreign minister said, ‘I will rather ask them to mount pressure on Myanmar to [help them] carry out humanitarian activities inside Myanmar as the violence had not spread all over Myanmar.’
She said, ‘[Events] have changed by the time. Myanmar has now become a friend of the western countries. So they [westerners] can rather request Myanmar to [help them] to carry out humanitarian tasks inside Myanmar.’
‘Today western leaders are visiting Myanmar and speaking of its potential. If they [international community] request Myanmar to solve the problems, we would understand that they really want a peaceful solution…,’ Dipu Moni said.
The foreign minister said the international community should have a ‘deeper understanding’ of the issues involved here.
She also said that requesting Myanmar to solve its problems rather than asking Bangladesh to open the border would be ‘rational and justified.’
Dipu Moni said Bangladesh did not want to allow the longstanding refugee problems to intensify by allowing more Myanmar Muslims to cross into Bangladesh.
‘Bangladesh is already beset with many problems stemming from Rohingya issues. We do not want to allow the problems to increase,’ she added.
Defending Dhaka’s stand for not allowing Myanmar refugees to enter Bangladesh, the foreign minister said, ‘It is sectarian violence going on only in a certain area in Myanmar, not throughout Myanmar. Things are not like that the Rohingyas are left with no place to take shelter.’
She said, ‘Furthermore, it is their internal problem. It will not be justified to interfere in Myanmar’s internal problems.’
‘Dhaka is not bound under any internal laws to allow Rohingya refugees to enter Bangladesh. Some are trying to say that Bangladesh should open the border in line with the international customary law. But I want to say that Bangladesh does not fall under the purview of the law,’ Moni reaffirmed the country’s stand.
‘Even Bangladesh is not a signatory of refugee convention,’ she added.
She said Bangladesh was giving necessary foods, medicines and other supplies to the Rohingya refugees who were coming in on boats.
About Myanmar’s allegation that Jamaat and a few Rohingya organisations were instigating the sectarian violence in Myanmar, Dipu Moni said the government was ‘seriously investigating the matter as the country is committed not to allow its land being used by any groups or forces against its neighbours.’
‘Myanmar through our envoy there has expressed grave concerns that a certain political party, Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, and some Rohingya organisations are providing Rohingyas with arms to create instability inside Myanmar,’ said Dipu Moni.
‘We will consider their concerns with utmost importance,’ she said.
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