USA to support Bangladesh in dealing with refugee crisis

UN Security Council members Mansour Ayyad Al Otaibi from Kuwait Gustavo Meza Cuadra from Peru Joanna Wronecka from Poland and Karen Pierce from Great Britain speak at a press conference in Myanmar's capital Naypyidaw

USA to support Bangladesh in dealing with refugee crisis

US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat handed over the letter to the Prime Minister when she met her here this afternoon.

Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed in December to begin repatriating the refugees in January, but there were concerns among rights groups and Rohingya that they would be forced to return and face unsafe conditions in Myanmar.

According to the agreement signed between former Foreign Secretary S. Jaishnakar and Myanmar Deputy Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement U Soe Aung, India will help Myanmar in building prefabricated houses to meet the immediate needs of returning Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh.

PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.

PM's press secretary said Donald Trump also highly appreciated Sheikh Hasina for her humanitarian leadership in addressing the Rohingya crisis.

Mentioning that hosting over one million Rohingyas is a tremendous burden, he said the world knows Bangladesh's actions have saved thousands of lives.

Almost 11 lakh Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar's Rakhine State since August a year ago after large-scale violence.

As the largest humanitarian aid donor in the world, he said, the United States remains committed to supporting Bangladesh alongside "our global partners". "I hope Bangladesh continues to demonstrate the leadership that has resulted in recognition from around the world, particularly ahead of the challenging monsoon season".

Myanmar and Bangladesh signed a deal for the return of refugees earlier this year, but with the repatriation delayed, concern is growing as Myanmar has refused to allow any worldwide body, including the United Nations, to oversee the process until very recently.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will visit Myanmar on 10-11 May during which she will impress upon the Myanmar leadership the urgent need for taking steps for the rehabilitation of Rohingya refugees.

She said the government is developing an island called Bhashanchar to give temporary shelter to 100,000 Rohingyas.

The statement said that almost 900,000 refugees, more than double the local population of Cox's Bazar, have put great pressure on host communities as people are competing for already scarce natural resources, food, fuel, and work.

US Ambassador Marcia Bernicat said the USAID provides assistance to refugees across the globe, and it is working in Cox's Bazar under the United Nations to mitigate the sufferings of the Rohingyas.

The Prime Minister said Bangabandhu laid the foundation of women empowerment in Bangladesh as he took various initiatives for their development after independence.

Maj Gen Mia Mohammad Zainul Abedin, minister's military affairs secretary to the prime minister, and Sajjadul Hassan, secretary to the Prime Minister Office, were present at the meeting.

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