“If Bangladesh Can Feed 160M, We Can Also Feed 7,00,000”: PM Sheikh Hasina On Rohingya Refugee Crisis
September 14th, 2017
Following her visit to a refugee camp, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that her country could feed 7,00,000 Rohingya refugees.
The Prime Minister also drew parallels with the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis and the refugee crisis suffered by Bangladeshis during the Liberation War of 1971, The Dhaka Tribune reported.
“We have the ability to feed 160 million people of Bangladesh and we have enough food security to feed the 7,00,000 refugees,” the PM Hasina said at a programme after visiting the Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar.
The same was confirmed to NPR by Zafar Sobhan, editor-in-chief of The Dhaka Tribune.
“We have let the Rohingya in on humanitarian grounds and I ask the people of this country to help ease their suffering in whatever way they can,” the Prime Minister said. “I ask the international community to put pressure on the Myanmar government to take back their nationals … Bangladesh wants to maintain peace and good relations with its neighbouring countries, but it cannot accept unjust acts of the Myanmar government. We will do all we can to ease the suffering of the Rohingya refugees.”
The Rohingya crisis
The latest round of violence in Myanmar’s northwestern Rakhine state began on 25 August and had evolved into a full-blown humanitarian crisis, with over one lakh Rohingyas fleeing the country to neighbouring Bangladesh, and thousands stranded in Myanmar’s mountainous borderlands.
The Rohingyas are a Muslim Indo-Aryan population living mainly along the west coast of Myanmar. While they can be found in India, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and many other countries, the largest number of Rohingyas are found in Myanmar. Within Myanmar, they are concentrated in the Rakhine State, located along the west coast. They number around 1.3 million out of the 52 million people who live in Myanmar.
The crimes against Rohingyas have not subsided since the arrival of democracy in 2015. Military forces instigated a brutal military crackdown against Rohingyas in 2016 following attacks on police camps on the border of the Rakhine State. There were widespread violations of human rights including extrajudicial killings, gang rapes, arsons etc.
In 2015, thousands of Rohingyas fled Myanmar in makeshift and small boats across the Andaman Sea. Hundreds died, and thousands were trafficked. At least 139 graves have been identified with bodies of trafficked Rohingyas along the border with Thailand.
Although the United Nations and human rights groups have repeatedly called for measures to protect the Rohingyas in Myanmar, the government has denied the atrocities taking place or downplayed their magnitude.
The Indian government recently decided to deport the Rohingya refugee population. The decision received much flak, with supporters of the move citing national security as the rationale behind the decision and critics saying the move, by forcing the Rohingyas back to Myanmar, would inevitably expose thousands to prosecution.
On Monday, September 4, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to give a detailed reply on its decision to deport the Rohingyas back to Myanmar. The centre argued that it would not deport Rohingyas, but that it had notified states to identify all illegal immigrants.
The Logical Indian community applauds the move by Khalsa Aid International that aims at helping the Rohingya Muslims who have no roof over their head and food to fill their stomachs. Alongside, we emphasise on the pressing need for the Myanmar government to acknowledge the mounting problem and take swift action to address the issue, punish the perpetrators and safeguard human rights in a democratic Myanmar.