Dhaka, Nov 16 (Just News) : A top American Senator on Thursday supported the Bangladeshi decision to scrap its Rohingya repatriation plan after none of the refugees wanted to go back to Myanmar.
“Bangladesh correctly scrapped their plan to send vulnerable Rohingya back to Burma to face further persecution,” Senator Ed Markey said.
“But it is not enough,” said the Democratic Senator from Massachusetts.
Bangladesh and Burma, Markey asserted, must respect international humanitarian law and work with UNHCR to safely and voluntarily support the return of the Rohingya back to their homes.
Meanwhile the USAID Administrator Mark Green told a Washington audience that the US is trying to provide education facilities to the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. In Cox Bazaar alone there are some 700,000 Rohingya refugees.
“The government's official position is that we can't have schools there because they're temporary guests. Okay, well, they still need education,” Green said responding to a question at the Council on Foreign Relations.
“We're trying to provide some semblance of educational services, so that hopefully, someday, those kids are able to, God willing, return home in a meaningful, voluntary way,” he said.
During a Congressional hearing later in the day, Waris Husain, Policy Analyst, US Commission on International Religious Freedom, said it important to recognize that when it comes to the global protection of religious freedom, Bangladesh’s accommodation of the Rohingya from Burma must be appreciated and applauded.
“The unsung heroes that I saw during my trip last year were the local citizens living near the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazaar who have opened their area to the Rohingya despite personal cost and loss,” he said during a Congressional hearing on Elections and Human Rights in Bangladesh organized by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.
Laura Bramon, senior program panager, Child Protection and Education, World Vision US told the commission that involuntary return of refugees to Myanmar, where their lives and safety remain at grave risk, is a violation of fundamental refugee protection principles.