DHAKA – The Prime Minister of Bangladesh visited on Tuesday a Rohingya refugee camp in the southeast of the country and promised to continue distribution of food and services to the 370,000 members of the minority Muslim community who have arrived in the last two weeks.
Sheikh Hasina, who distributed relief material to camp residents, said Myanmar had no right to reject the Rohingya people, as they were its citizens.
“Bangladesh is a country of 160 million people and we have ensured their basic needs, we have also a capacity to provide all kinds of help including food and healthcare services to the Myanmar refugees,” said the prime minister, according to official news agency BSS.
“We want peace and a friendly relation with neighboring countries, (but) we cannot allow and accept any kind of injustice and our protest will continue to this end,” she added.
The current crisis erupted on Aug. 25, when a Rohingya insurgent group mounted attacks on police and army posts in the Rakhine state, and the government responded with a military operation.
The insurgent group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, declared on Saturday a month-long ceasefire to allow humanitarian assistance to reach the region, though the government refused to respond.
The latest influx of refugees follows another wave of exodus in 2016, when more than 80,000 Rohingyas crossed over to Bangladesh to escape an aggressive Burmese military offensive after an insurgent attack on border posts.
Before the crisis erupted, between 300,000 and 500,000 Rohingyas had been living in Bangladesh, the majority in the southeastern Cox’s Bazar district, out of whom only 32,000 enjoyed refugee status.