By Md. Kamruzzaman
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) - The UN on Sunday urged world leaders bring pressure to bear on Myanmar to bring back its nationals, the persecuted Rohingya who fled a military crackdown to seek shelter in Bangladesh, the state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency reported.
“Bangladesh cannot solve the [Rohingya] problem alone, and the international community should mount more pressure on Myanmar to solve it,” Adama Dieng, the visiting UN special advisor on the prevention of genocide, said on Sunday while paying a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office.
Dieng stressed the need for peaceful Rohingya repatriation with due dignity and safety for a permanent solution to the crisis.
“The UN wants repatriation of the Rohingya to their homeland of Rakhine state, and a peaceful and inclusive society built up there,” he added.
Praising Bangladesh’s contribution in giving shelter to more than million Rohingya refugees, Deing said: “You have opened the door widely for the Rohingya.”
Hasina, for her part, stressed the strain sheltering the refugees has taken on her country, as the Rohingya in the town of Cox’s Bazar outnumber the locals.
“Local people are suffering a lot,” she said, adding that the international community should do more.
Hasina said the government is developing an island called Bhashanchar to shelter the Rohingya, though international observers have warned that the island is prone to natural disaster and urged that the Rohingya be allowed to move there on a voluntary basis and with full disclosure about the island.
- A persecuted people
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience."
Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.
The UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings – including of infants and young children – and brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces.
In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity and genocidal intent.