Published:  03:40 AM, 11 July 2019

Ban Ki-moon fears Rohingya crisis will be unbearable for Bangladesh

Ban Ki-moon fears Rohingya crisis will be unbearable for Bangladesh Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon visiting Kutupalang Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar on Wednesday. Foreign Minister of Bangladesh AK Abdul Momen MP is also seen in the picture. -AA

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Wednesday expressed his fears that the Rohingya issue would eventually be an unbearable crisis for Bangladesh.

He criticized Myanmar for its reluctance to take back the forcibly displaced people.  "It is not possible for Bangladesh to host such a large number of Rohingyas for long," Ban ki-moon told newsmen, visiting a makeshift camp for refugees.

The former UN chief was accompanied by visiting Marshall Islands President, Dr Hilda Heine, and World Bank CEO Dr Kristaline Georgieva. The former South Korean diplomat, Ban, who subsequently served as the eighth secretary-general of the United Nations for two consecutive terms from January 2007 to December 2016, said Rohingyas were a huge "burden" for a country like Bangladesh. 

"The Myanmar government should do more so that Rohingyas can return to their homeland without fear and persecution," he said, as the three high-profile dignitaries visited the Kutupalang Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar.

He highly lauded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the people of Bangladesh for extending refuge to more than 1.1 million Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds in spite of resource constraints.Ban sought an urgent solution to the Rohingya crisis through a respectful return of the ethnic minority to Myanmar. He thanked the UN organizations for extending their humanitarian assistance to the Rohingyas.

The former UN chief arrived in Dhaka on Tuesday with Heine and Georgieva, to attend the "Dhaka Meeting of the Global Commission on Adaptation" on Wednesday.Georgieva, the World Bank CEO, also appreciated the Bangladesh prime minister and the Bangladeshi people for their generosity towards the Rohingya people.

 "Bangladesh opened its border while its people opened their hearts to the Rohingyas," Georgieva said.Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister M Shahab Uddin accompanied the foreign dignitaries.

Over 1.1 million Rohingyas have fled the indiscriminate and brutal operations of Myanmar's military in their northern Rakhine State, crossing into Bangladesh and joining tens of thousands who left Myanmar earlier in 2017, and many more from previous years.

The two countries have agreed upon a procedural framework for voluntary repatriation, but no Rohingya have returned and small numbers continue to flee to Bangladesh. The burden of the crisis may have shifted to Bangladesh, but the onus of responsibility remains squarely on Myanmar.

---Chanchal Dasgupta, Cox's Bazar

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