Rohingya refugees could turn to extremism, says Bangladesh minister; seeks India’s help

Bangladesh foreign minister A K Abdul Momen said many refugees are getting involved in criminal activities las they are getting frustrated at not being able to go back to Myanmar

The Asian Confluence River Conclave was attended by external affairs minister S Jaishankar, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and ambassadors and high commissioners of several South-East Asian countries, including Myanmar

Bangladesh foreign minister AK Abdul Momen on Saturday said that Rohingya refugees staying in his country could turn to extremism and sought help from India and other countries in the region to repatriate them to Myanmar, reports Hindustan Times.

Delivering a special address at the inaugural session of the two-day Asian Confluence River Conclave, Natural Allies in Development and Interdependence 3 (NADI-3), in Guwahati, the minister said that Bangladesh is at present hosting 1.1 million Myanmar nationals in Cox’s Bazar region.

Jaishankar, Sarma take part

The session was attended by external affairs minister S Jaishankar, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and ambassadors and high commissioners of several South-East Asian countries, including Myanmar.

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Also read: Rohingyas in India fleeing to Bangladesh for safety and refuge

“I am talking about the massive influx of Maynamar nationals in Bangladesh who have been forcibly pushed out of their own country and Bangladesh is providing them with food and shelter on humanitarian grounds,” Momen said naming the refugees as Rohingyas, the report says.

According to UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in August 2017, armed attacks, violence and human rights violations forced thousands of Rohingyas to flee Myanmar’s Rakhine state and reach Bangladesh.

Rohingyas are a Muslim minority group who have lived for centuries in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, but have been denied citizenship since 1982. According to the UN, Rohingyas are the ‘most persecuted minority in the world’.

‘Rohingyas getting frustrated’

“They are temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh for the last five years and they all want to go back to their motherland. Since, repatriation has not been started yet, they are getting frustrated and many are getting involved in criminal activities like drugs and human trafficking, violence and crimes,” Hindustan Times reported Momen as saying.

Also read: US to declare Rohingya repression in Myanmar a genocide

“We are afraid that such activities might create pockets of extremism and radicalism and may lead to uncertainty in the whole region. Therefore, their reparation must be done quickly. I solicit your help and support in this regard,” he added.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar, who delivered his address after Momen, didn’t mention about the refugees. Ambassador of Myanmar to India, Moe Kyaw Aung, didn’t speak during the inaugural session of the conclave.

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