Friday, June 10, 2011

US to help assist Rohingya refugees

Visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration Eric Schwartz Thursday said USA will continue its possible support to the Bangladesh government to assist Rohingya refugees until a permanent solution to the longstanding problem is found, reports UNB.

"The solution to this refugee challenge lies in Burma. Voluntary return of Rohingya in large numbers will only be possible when the basic rights of these people are safeguarded, and -sadly - that is not today the case," Schwartz told a press conference at the American Centre.

He said until such changes take place in Burma the US will continue to do what they can to assist the government and the people of Bangladesh.

Replying to a question Schwartz said political reform and democratization in respect of human rights in Burma are important objective not only for USA but also for the international community.

He said recently US senior official visited Burma to have discussion with senior officials about democratization in respect to human rights.

Schwartz said he did not go to Myanmar on this visit but hoped that he and other officials of the department will visit the area from where

Rohingyas come and promote efforts for social and economic development in the Southwestern part of Burma.

He said humanitarian problems don't have humanitarian solution but those have political solution and the political solution is not in 'our side yet'

The US assistant secretary said until political solution all should try to continue to provide assistance to the victims of repression and prosecution as the Roghigya did nothing wrong.

Schwartz said he had been in Bangladesh for the last three days to explore issues surrounding Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and the region.

On Tuesday he traveled to Cox's Bazar and visited the Kutupalong camp and surrounding areas hosting Rohingya refugees and met with camp officials and officials adjoining areas, members of the local community and representatives of international and non-governmental organizations.

He said he also had opportunity to speak with a number of refugees and to learn of the significant challenges they confront.

Schwartz appreciated the Bangladesh government and its people for hosting hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who have fled persecution in southwestern Burma where the regime systemically denies the human rights and human freedom of the Rohingyas.

He said the US has supported the refugee program in Bangladesh since 1991.
In 2010 US provided over 23 million US dollar to regional appeals of the UNHCR and ICRC as well as 1.28 million US dollar to NGOs assisting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

He said the US is eager to continue and augment its support to the humanitarian efforts of the government and look forward to consulting closely with Bangladesh officials in the future.

Source: The News Today

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