DHAKA: New York based Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to reconsider her government’s stance by opening border for shelter seekers fleeing for sectarian clash in Arakan state of Myanmar.
Indicating the premier, in a letter, HRW Executive Director Ken Roth said, “We urge you to provide those fleeing violence and persecution at least temporary refuge until it is safe for them to return, in accordance with international legal norms.”
“We note that Bangladeshis have been the beneficiary of the generosity of neighbors at times of strife, notably when large numbers fled to India for safety in 1971 during the national war of liberation,” it added.
Ken Roth also said, “We recognize that the international community has an obligation to assist with the costs of providing sanctuary.”
The high official of the international organization said, “On June 12, Human Rights Watch issued a statement which not only called on your government to open its borders to refugees, but which also said, “Bangladesh needs generous support right now from the international community to assist the refugees fleeing Arakan State and to find durable solutions later on.”
“We remain committed to devoting our energies to enlist the support of the international community to support Bangladesh if your government is prepared to meet its international obligations on behalf of refugees,” Ken added.
Regarding parliamentary debate on the issue, he said, “We were dismayed, however, to learn that during a parliamentary debate on Thursday, reportedly in your presence, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said, "Bangladesh never signed any kind of international act, convention or law for allowing and giving shelter to refugees,” and added, “That’s why we are not bound to provide shelter to the Rohingyas.”
As explained below, this was an inaccurate statement of Bangladesh’s legal obligations, the leader added.
BDST: 1505 HRS, JUN 16, 2012
Edited by: Mohammed Humayun Kabir, Sr Newsroom Editor / M. Mahbub Alam, Asst Output Editor
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