Rohingya crisis to be unbearable for Bangladesh: fears Ban Ki-moon

COX’S BAZAR, July 10, 2019 (BSS)-Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon today expressed his fears that the Rohingya issue would eventually be an unbearable crisis for Bangladesh as he criticized Myanmar for its visible reluctance to take back the forcibly displaced people.
“It is not possible for Bangladesh to host such a large number of Rohingyas for long,” he told newsmen while visiting a makeshift camp of theirs along with Marshal Island President Dr Hilda Heine and World Bank CEO Dr Kristaline Georgieva.
The former South Korean diplomat, Ban, who subsequently served as the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations for two consecutive terms from January 2007 to December 2016, said Rohingyas appeared as a huge “burden” for a country like Bangladesh.
Ban described Myanmar’s role in repatriating Rohingyas was much less that what was expected as he visited the makeshift camps of the forcibly displaced people on the outskirts of this sea resort town.
“Myanmar government should do much more so that Rohingyas can return to their homeland without fear and persecution,” he said as the three high-profile dignitaries visited the Kutupalang Rohingya camp in Cox’s Bazar.
He, however, highly lauded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Bangladeshis for extending refuge to more than 1.1 million Rohingyas on humanitarian ground despite constrains of internal resources.
Ban sought harmonious solution to the Rohingya crisis through dignified and fearless return of the Myanmar nationals and thanked the UN organizations for extending their humanitarian assistance to Rohingyas.
He said more than 1.1 million Rohingyas have settled here from the Myanmar’s Rakhine State. “There is great dismay and concern among the Rohingyas that I watched myself,” Ban said.
“So, I sincerely hope that there will be harmonious solution to the problem,” he said.
The former UN Secretary General said when he served the world body he helped tens of millions of refugees including Syrians. “But what I saw today is really heartbreaking,” he said, hoping that the Rohingyas will be able to return to their homeland safe and sound.
Ban highly appreciated and commended the compassionate leadership and generous support of the Bangladesh government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for helping the Rohingyas.
On the climate change issue, the former UN Secretary General expressed gratitude to the prime minister for her “very far-reaching vision” for effectively adapting to the climate change.
“It’s very important to make sure that adaptation and mitigation go hand in hand,” he remarked.
The former UN chief arrived Dhaka yesterday to attend a meeting on climate change adaptation along with Heine and Georgieva.
The World Bank CEO also lauded the generosity of the Bangladeshi premier and Bangladeshi people for their generosity to the vulnerable Rohingyas.
“Bangladesh opened its border while its people opened their heart to Rohingyas,” Georgieva said.
Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen and Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister M Shahab Uddin accompanied the foreign dignitaries.
Heine, Ban and Georgieva also planted separate saplings on the premises of the Rohingya camps as gestures of their solidarity to these vulnerable displaced Myanmar nationals.
Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar district and most of them arrived there since August 25, 2017 after a military crackdown by Myanmar, termed as “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” by the UN.
Rohingyas threatening Cox’s Bazar environment
Earlief on the day, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina while inaugurating the ‘Dhaka Meeting of the Global Commission on Adaptation’ in the capital city, said the environmental balance of Cox’s Bazar is under threat as settlements are being established there for Rohingyas clearing hills and forests.
“For this (Rohingya presence), the natural equilibrium is being destabilised in that area… settlements are being established in the area clearing forests and hills. As a result, those areas are becoming insecure and risky, too,” she said.
Mentioning that Bangladesh has given shelter these huge Myanmar nationals on humanitarian ground, she said the country is stepping forward with a big burden on its shoulder.
She said Bangladesh wants that the Rohingyas to return to their homeland as soon as possible. “The quicker they will return to their homeland the better for Bangladesh, and I do believe that,” she added. Talking about adaptation, she said adaptation measures cannot be spread without unless proper mitigation measures are in place.
Hasina said in this age of science, technology and innovation, there is enormous opportunity to address climate change. “I call everyone for your awareness and respective responsibility to fight the adverse impacts of climate change,” she said. The prime minister said Bangladesh is expecting to take advantage of the best adaptation practices, most cost-effective solutions and risk reduction with the help of the Global Commission on Adaptation.
“We’re eagerly waiting to see the recommendations of the flagship report next September at the time of the Climate Change Summit called by the secretary general of the United Nations where I, on behalf of Bangladesh and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), have been invited to speak,” she said.

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