Britain can shelter Rohingya if it is so concerned, Bangladesh foreign minister suggests

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has suggested that the United Kingdom can itself rescue and shelter the Rohingya refugees stranded on boats in the sea for weeks.  

Published : 28 April 2020, 10:10 PM
Updated : 28 April 2020, 10:12 PM

 He floated the idea on Monday during a phone call with Lord Tariq Mahmood Ahmad, Britain’s Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

Momen said Bangladesh has sheltered 1.1 million Rohingya on humanitarian grounds despite being a developing country with limited resources.

“Five-hundred Rohingya is quite a small number in comparison, but they are in Bangladesh waters now. Though we are being urged to shelter them for humanity’s sake, but the other countries were not requested to do the same,” he said.

“Britain itself can send a Royal Navy ship to rescue and shelter them,” he added.

The foreign minister discussed world leaders’ “apathy” to effective steps to resolve the Rohingya refugee crisis, the ministry said.

“The other countries in the world should take and shelter the 1.1 million Rohingya. Especially the developed nations should step forward,” it quoted Momen as saying.

The foreign minister told Lord Ahmad that the other countries in the region should also do their bit in stopping Myanmar from “killing the Rohingya”.

“Member states of the European Union and other countries are still investing in Myanmar while the human rights organisations are not raising their voice much,” he rued.

Momen also urged Lord Ahmad to support the Bangladeshi migrant workers who are leading “inhumane” lives during the coronavirus pandemic, especially in the Middle East.

The UK and other developed countries can speak out so that the employing countries do not sack the migrant workers, he said.

Bangladesh will send medical equipment to the UK as a gift to battle the coronavirus, he said and sought Lord Ahmad’s cooperation to ensure the British buyers of Bangladeshi readymade garments do not cancel orders.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher