We're Live Bangla Tuesday, May 30, 2023



Bangladesh outright rejected a reported Malaysian plan to ask Dhaka to take 269 Rohingyas who managed to land on its soil, with the foreign minister saying Dhaka was neither obligated nor willing to do so.

“Bangladesh will not take them in (Rohingyas),” foreign minister AK Abdul Momen told BSS yesterday.

Talking to a BSS diplomatic correspondent over phone, Momen further said “Bangladesh is neither obligated nor in a position to provide shelter to any more Rohingya, while it by now provided makeshift shelter to over a million of them.”

He said Bangladesh had nothing to do if any Rohingya gets into Malaysian territory to be detained there.

“Rohingyas are not Bangladeshi citizens rather they are inhabitants of Myanmar for centuries,” Momen said. The Bangladesh foreign minister’s comments came hours after international media reported that Malaysia would ask Bangladesh to take back nearly 300 Rohingyas detained after a boat carrying them entered its waters earlier this week.

Momen said Dhaka would not shoulder the responsibility of the Rohingyas in Malaysia and “we will (rather) welcome the global leaderships and organizations to relocate the persecuted 1.1 million Rohingyas who are now in temporary shelters in Bangladesh”.

“Other countries are also welcome to take them (from Bangladesh),” he added. A Bangladesh foreign ministry official in Dhaka earlier told an international news agency that the Rohingyas detained in Malaysia were the responsibility of Myanmar.

According to media reports Malaysian authorities arrested 269 Rohingyas and retrieved the body of a woman from a damaged boat near the Malaysian island of Langkawi, off its north-western coast. Quoting Malaysia’s defence minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Reuters reported that Kuala Lumpur might ask for the migrants to be placed on Bangladesh’s Bhasan Char island where Bangladesh had earlier planned to re-settle Rohingya refugees.

“Malaysia also plans to ask United Nations refugee agency UNHCR to re-settle Rohingya migrants in a third country,” the report quoted him as saying as well. Bangladesh hosts over 1.1 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar district and most of them arrived there since 25 August 2017 after a military crackdown by Myanmar, which the UN called a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” and other rights groups dubbed as “genocide”.

Even after almost three years, not a single Rohingya returned home yet although Myanmar agreed to take them back. On 21 May, the foreign minister has also called upon the European Union (EU) countries to share with Bangladesh the burden of sheltering persecuted refugees by relocating them in Europe or other countries.

“Providing shelter to Rohingyas was not the responsibility of Bangladesh alone,” he said while, joining a video conference with head of mission of 10 EU countries stationed here.