“Excessive focus on temporary arrangement and undue criticism will only shift the focus from the permanent solution, which lies in repatriation and reintegration of Rohingyas in Myanmar,” said the statement.
It must be remembered that the Rohingyas are Myanmar nationals. Any arrangement for them in Bangladesh - be it in Cox’s Bazar or in Bhashan Char - is purely on a temporary basis until they return to their country, the release said.
A two-member team from the UNHCR headquarters in Geneva, comprising the Assistant High Commissioner for Protection and the Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, accompanied by senior officials from the foreign ministry, visited Bhashan Char on Monday.
During their tour to Bhashan Char, a large number of Rohingya gathered together and launched a demonstration and at one point, the crowd got agitated and in the process, some of the Rohingyas reportedly sustained minor injuries.
“Once the delegation left the island, the situation normalised,” said the foreign ministry.
The crowd had free and frank interactions with the UNHCR representatives and vented out their frustration and concerns over uncertainty vis-a-vis repatriation while they confirmed their relocation to Bhashan char was completely on a voluntary basis.
The Rohingyas demanded UN’s presence in Bhashan Char to ensure facilities such as education, livelihood activities and skill development.
The foreign ministry said the UN is expected to assume their responsibility and operate within their mandate taking into account the ground reality and concerns of the host community.
“The Government of Bangladesh, on its part, is ready to address any realistic needs and concerns of the Rohingyas,” it said adding that the UNHCR needs to work constructively to that end.
In absence of any progress in repatriation, the ministry said, Rohingyas expressed desperation to get out of the present situation and requested to consider relocation to a third country.
The ministry mentioned that in recent times there have been a number of important visits to Bhashan Char including the visits of the OIC Assistant Secretary General, the 18-member UN team and most recently a group of Ambassadors.
During all these visits, it said, the Rohingyas spontaneously and happily interacted with the visiting guests both in informal and formal settings.