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No space for more refugees, Bangladesh says about Rohingyas
Publication Date : 19-06-2012
Dhaka yesterday reiterated its stance that it has no physical space to accommodate refugees from Myanmar anymore and urged the iternational community to share the burden of refugee pressure.
"Sharing burden doesn't mean we are seeking money to feed the refugees. We [Bangladesh] don't want money for this purpose… We want the international community to play an effective role so that no Myanmarese [Rohingya] comes to Bangladesh to take refuge," a senior official of the foreign ministry said yesterday.
Foreign ministry officials said they were disturbed as diplomats of some specific countries and UN agencies continued requesting them to allow the refugees to enter Bangladesh despite Dhaka's firm rebuff.
They said some diplomats have even sought permission from the government to pay family visit to Chittagong Hill Tracts and Cox's Bazar.
The authorities are not allowing the visits as a top UN official in Dhaka has already visited the CHT and held meetings with locals in which he made several allegations against the government, the officials added.
Meanwhile, a pre-scheduled visit of UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, who was due to arrive in Dhaka today to discuss repatriation of 30,000 registered Rohingya refugees staying in Bangladesh since 1991, has been called off as both the foreign minister and the foreign secretary are abroad.
Besides, Dhaka has imposed restriction on visit of UNHCR Country Representative Craig Sanders in the bordering areas and some other places in Teknaf and Cox's Bazar without prior permission.
The government, which is unhappy with the UNHCR official's recent activities as well as visit to bordering district of Cox's Bazar on June 15-17, during which he also toured to Teknaf border, has advised him not to visit beyond the areas of UNHCR office and Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar.
The message was conveyed when a three-member delegation led by UNHCR Country Representative Craig Sanders met Director General (UN) of the Foreign Ministry Saida Muna Tasneem, official sources said.
The sources added instruction has been given to the district and local administration not to allow any diplomats of foreign or UN missions in the bordering areas if they don't have permission from the authorities concerned.
The UNHCR officials during the around 90-minute meeting requested the government to allow the refugees from Myanmar on humanitarian ground, but the foreign ministry official reiterated the position of Bangladesh, the sources informed.
The government rather reaffirmed that vigilance in the international border with Myanmar will be strict so that no
Rohingya can enter Bangladesh territory.
"Bangladesh is not doing anything inhuman with the Rohingyas, rather they were provided with food, medicines and fuel for engine boats and were motivated to return to their homeland. There was no misbehaviour or use of force," according to a high official of the foreign ministry.