Foreign Minister Abdul Momen lambasted aid agencies for opposing Rohingya refugee relocation from Cox’s Bazar camps to Bhasan Char
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen Friday rebuked aid agencies who are criticising the government's scheme of relocating Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh's south eastern district Cox's Bazar to Bhasan Char.
The minister commented that the refugees would be able to engage in economic activities at the island.
He said, "The island has a vast area and they [Rohingyas] will be able to do agricultural works what they used to do in Rakhine. But in the tinny camps in Cox's Bazar, there are no such opportunities."
"Bhasan Char is a nice place that offers many opportunities -- something almost unheard of in the camps," Dr Momen said while speaking from his residence.
"But the aid agencies are unhappy. They cited communication problem," the foreign minister said, adding these agencies could in that case spend the funds to introduce the better communication and transport services they require as "they have no fund crisis".
Dr Momen said the government is concerned as Rohingyas are living in a very congested campus with landslide risks in rainy season. "If anybody dies, blame falls on our shoulder," he commented.
Referring to stranded Rohingyas at sea, he said all countries and the rights bodies look to Bangladesh whenever any issue arises whether it is in the Andaman Sea or Indian Ocean.
"As if we have sheltered 1.1 million Rohingyas and we will have to give shelter to others too," he said.
The foreign minister reiterated that Bangladesh has no space to accommodate more Rohingyas and that other countries also have the responsibility to share the burden.
"Rohingya crisis is not our problem alone, rather it is a global crisis. Those countries which always advise us can take Rohingyas if they are so concerned. They, like us, have no space shortage to accommodate the refugees," Momen further said.
Fortify Rights, an international NGO working with the Rohingyas in the camps in Cox's Bazar, recently claimed that Bangladesh authorities are currently holding at least 300 Rohingyas in quarantine on Bhasan Char.
Referring to his recent meeting with European Union Ambassador to Bangladesh Rensje Teerink, Momen said he urged the ambassador to take Rohingyas to their countries if they truly want to give them a better life.
On May 20, the foreign minister held a meeting through videoconferencing with ambassadors of Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the European Union delegation in Dhaka.