British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Saturday visited refugee camps in Ukhia upazila of Cox’s Bazar district and heard Rohingyas who had fled Myanmar due to torture and repression.
Johnson talked to Rohingyas at the transit camp in Kutupalong, and then went on to the Balukhali camp and witnessed relief activates of the UNHCR and the IOM. He talked to children at the child-friendly center and spent some time with them.
At the Balukhali-2 camp, Boris Johnson said that the UK was working with the Bangladesh government, and other international agencies for the safe repatriation of Rohingya refugees, currently living in Bangladesh camps, to Myanmar.
“We expect the Rohingyas to live with their basic rights, security and respect in their own country Myanmar, he added. He also praised the Bangladesh position on the Rohingya issue, and assured all kinds of assistance. Boris Johnson spoke to three men, and two women Rohingya refugees, who described to the British foreign secretary in detail about how they had been tortured in their own country, by the military, police and local extremists.
Johnson arrived Cox’s Bazar at 12:15 pm Saturday from Dhaka. Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh state minister for foreign affairs, and Alison Blake, British High Commissioner in Dhaka, as well as other officials of international aid agencies, accompanied him.
At least 700,000 Rohingyas entered Bangladesh in the face of violence which erupted in Myanmar on August 25, 2017. For years, the Myanmar authorities have denied citizenship and other rights such as education and basic health care to Rohingyas, an ethnic Muslim minority in Northern Rakhine state.
After the Myanmar authorities cracked down in the northern part of Rakhine in response to militant attacks on security force posts on August 25, over 655,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh. The United Nations and International human rights organizations described the operation as ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, But Myanmar denies the allegation.
Under the agreement Bangladesh and Myanmar signed on January 16, 2018, Myanmar will start receiving Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh.