Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has again emphasized the return of the large number of Rohingyas who have taken refuge in Bangladesh. She said everyone should understand the reality that forcibly displaced Rohingyas have become a big burden for Bangladesh, and they must return home. The Prime Minister said these things in an interview given to Voice of America (VOA) Bengali Service in Washington. The interview was aired on Tuesday. Sheikh Hasina said, ‘They (Rohingyas) should go back to their own country. Everyone should understand the situation. We cannot take any more people, the Rohingyas must go back.” Referring to Bangladesh’s repeated appeals to the international community for the safe and sustainable repatriation of the Rohingyas, the Prime Minister said that the responsibility of such a large population (about 1.15 million) should be taken by a single country. impossible Not only to provide shelter but also to provide sustenance for such a large population is a big responsibility, which no country can bear alone.
With the Russia-Ukraine war, countersanctions, and the ongoing covid-19, the entire world is reeling, and prices of daily necessities are skyrocketing; The Prime Minister mentioned that the people of the world have suffered greatly. She said, “Those who came forward to help (the Rohingyas) (local people), are now facing problems for their survival. How much more can Bangladesh do for the Rohingyas, because it has a huge population, and the country should think about its people. The Prime Minister said that the children and adolescents of the Rohingya community are now being brought up in Shinji Basti (Rohingya camps), where they are growing up with human values and good health. The opportunity to climb is very limited.
Stating that Bangladesh is not in a position to take any more people from Myanmar, Sheikh Hasina said that the long-term stay of Rohingyas in Bangladesh has destroyed the forests of Cox’s Bazar. In addition to the destruction of natural beauty, the large number of Rohingyas is causing great suffering to the locals and the arable land in the area is drastically decreasing. He said many Rohingya were involved in human trafficking as well as drug and arms smuggling and were involved in internal conflicts within the camps. Regarding sheltering such a large number of Rohingyas, the Prime Minister said, “At the time of independence, our large population had to take refuge in India through inhumane torture including murder and rape. So today when they (displaced Rohingyas) are victims of similar torture, Bangladesh shelters them from a humanitarian point of view. He said, ‘We saw that suffering with our own eyes (in 1971). ‘ In this context, the Prime Minister also recalled the request of his younger sister Sheikh Rehana to take responsibility for several hundred thousand people (Rohingyas) along with 16 crore Bangladeshis. Quoting Sheikh Rehana, he said, ‘You can feed 160 million people, but you can’t feed a few hundred thousand people?’ The Prime Minister said he replied that, if necessary, Bangladeshis would eat one meal and share another meal with the Rohingyas.
The Prime Minister is currently visiting the US. During the visit, he participated in various programs including addressing the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Voice of America’s Bengali section conducted an hour-long interview with the Prime Minister last Saturday morning according to US time. In the interview, the Prime Minister discussed various complaints of international and Bangladeshi human rights organizations about the human rights situation in Bangladesh in addition to the Rohingya crisis, media freedom and the Digital Security Act, and possible challenges on the way to transition to a middle-income country, and the homeless. She spoke openly about various welfare policies and programs of his government, including the asylum project, women’s empowerment, marginalized people, especially the disabled, various steps are taken for the welfare of transgenders, Zia-Ershad era military rule, and upcoming elections.
Apart from this, the Prime Minister highlighted his plans and dreams about how Bangladesh can become a developed and prosperous country by 2041 by facing the challenges caused by climate change, the corona situation, the Russia-Ukraine war, etc. In response to a question on human rights, Sheikh Hasina said that the ruling Awami League government has not only protected human rights but also preserved them by making people aware of human rights. “We are always investigating (allegations). Appropriate legal action is taken in case of any human rights violation, even if it is committed by a member of the law enforcement agency, which was not seen in the past,’ she said. Pointing to BNP’s dumping allegations, the Chief Minister said, they have submitted a list of 70 people after much discussion. Most of the people listed were later found at BNP rallies, some went into hiding for personal reasons and in seven cases they were found dead.
The media is enjoying the freedom
Sheikh Hasina said that the number of media has increased during the Awami League period, and they are enjoying the freedom to say whatever they want. ‘If after everything has been said, someone says that She is not allowed to speak, what will be his reply? This is what I want to know,’ she said. Sheikh Hasina also said that people are participating in television talk shows, and they are speaking freely – true or false and they are also criticizing the government.
The Prime Minister said that his government has taken all kinds of steps to ensure that the Election Commission (EC) can conduct free and fair elections. He said they have made a law for the formation of the Election Commission, and according to the law.