Describing Myanmar army’s atrocities on Rohingya people in Rakhaine State as ‘war crime’ and ‘basic violation of human rights', the visiting US senators on Sunday assured Bangladesh of extending all-out US support to it in resolving the crisis.
The assurance came when a delegation of the US Senate, led by Senator Jeff Markley, met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence Ganobhaban.
After the meeting, PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters.
The delegation said these atrocities are gross violation of basic human rights and they condemn these as war crimes and ethnic cleansing.
The US delegation highly appreciated the Prime Minister and the Bangladesh government for accepting the huge number of forcibly evicted Myanmar people and giving them food and shelter, saying more international efforts are needed in this regard.
They said the international community also appreciates Bangladesh for opening its border to the forcibly displaced Rohingya people.
The delegation members said they talked to the victims and listened to their horrific stories when they visited the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar.
The Rohingya people also praised the Bangladesh government and expressed gratitude for its generosity, they added.
The senators said the United States wants the Rohingya people to be repatriated to Myanmar and rehabilitated there safely.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her government gave shelter to the Rohingya people fully on humanitarian ground recalling the similar situation of Bangladeshi refugees who had taken shelter in India during the Liberation War in 1971.
Hasina mentioned that these refugees have reminded her refuge life after the brutal assassination of Father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975.
She said the government is feeding 160 million people of the country and they will share their food with Rohingyas, if needed.
Terming Myanmar a next door neighbour, the Prime Minister said Myanmar should take their citizens back and ensure their security and rehabilitation.
She said international pressure should be mounted on Myanmar to implement the Kofi Annan Commission report.
Referring to the upcoming winter, Hasina said it would be a big challenge for Bangladesh to manage the situation.
She said the Myanmar people are now in a very dismal situation and directed the authorities concerned to keep vigil so that the vested quarter cannot hire them taking advantage of their frustration.
About the database of Rohingya people, Hasina said Bangladesh government has already prepared biometric database of over 5 lakh Rohingyas.
Highly praising the steady economic growth of Bangladesh, the delegation members said it is a testimony of hardworking people of Bangladesh and lauded the women empowerment in Bangladesh.
Turning to the global warming issue, the senators said Bangladesh is in the forefront of climate change issue globally.
PM’s Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi, Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, Senator Richard Durban, Congressman David Cicilline, Congresswomen Betty McCollum, and Jan Schakowsky, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia S Bericat were, among others, were present.
Later, another delegation of the United Kingdom, led by Sophie the Countess of Wessex, also met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the same venue.
After the meeting, the Press Secretary said the delegation put emphasis on the continuation of diplomatic efforts to stop the influx of Rohingya people to Bangladesh.
The United Kingdom also wants that the forcibly evicted Myanmar national should return to their country.
Hasina said the entire administration, including the police, BGB, Army and Navy, volunteers are working round the clock to mitigate the sufferings of the Rohingya people.
She also thanked the British government for its assistance for Rohingyas.