By Sorwar Alam
COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh (AA) - A Bangladeshi official on Thursday called on the Turkish government to take more steps at international arena to help resolve Rohingya crisis.
“Please draw the attention to the world community so that the Myanmar government is convinced and take the Rohingya refugee back to their country,” said Mahbub Alam Talukder, refugee relief and repatriation commissioner in Cox’s Bazar district.
The southeastern district of Bangladesh is hosting more than 1.1 million Rohingya who fled state persecution in northern Rakhine state of Myanmar.
He was speaking at a meeting with a Turkish delegation led by former minister and deputy head of ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party Mehmet Ozhaseki prior to their planned visit to refugee camps.
Talukder applauded Turkey’s humanitarian and diplomatic support for Bangladesh to deal with the refugee crisis.
Ozhaseki, for his part, reaffirmed Turkey’s unconditional support to refugees, stating that Turkey -- the host country of around 3.5 million Syrian refugees -- and Bangladesh are fulfilling their responsibilities before history.
But he noted that “some Arab countries” with huge economic power have failed this test (of supporting refugees).
“As long as the Bangladeshi government allows us to work here [in refugee camps] we will continue to do our best to support Rohingya,” he added.
The visit was accompanied by newly appointed Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh Mustafa Osman Turan, Mayor of Turkey’s southeastern Sanliurfa province Zeynel Abidin Beyazgul and several former deputies from AK Party.
- Persecuted community
Rohingya, described by the UN as one of the most persecuted community in the world, has been facing systematic state persecution in the northern Rakhine state of Myanmar since early 1970s.
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, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.
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 OIDA 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.