Bangla seeks relocation of Myanmar refugees
Dhaka, Aug 23: Bangladesh today sought international assistance, including from the United States, to help find a new home for thousands of refugees from Myanmar, saying it couldn't afford to keep them any longer.
Some 21,000 Rohingya Muslims from mainly Buddhist Myanmar have been living in two camps in Cox's Bazar district, 450 km southeast of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka for more than a decade.
They were among hundreds of thousands of minority Rohingyas who fled the west Myanmar region of Arakan in early 1992 to escape persecution by the military government.
Bangladesh's Food and Disaster Management Minister Chowdhury Kamal Ibne Yusuf said he had discussed the refugee problem with visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for Bureau of Population, Refugee and Migrations, Ellen R Sauerbrey.
''We have urged the US and the UN to try to relocate the Myanmar refugees in a third country,'' Yusuf told reporters.
Impoverished Bangladesh was not in a position to accommodate thousands of refugees for an indefinite period, he said.
Sauerbrey, who toured the Myanmar refugee camps, said she had urged Bangladesh to allow international aid organisations to help the refugees.
''A better living condition with adequate healthcare, food and education for children are the prime need at the moment,'' she said.
Bangladesh officials say in addition to those in the camps, there were more than 10,000 Rohingyas from Myanmar living on the banks of the river Naf which partially delineates the 320-km border between the two countries.