US ready to help resolve Rohingya issue: María Otero

Chittagong, Bangladesh: The United States (US) was ready to assist the relevant countries including Bangladesh for a lasting solution to the decades-old problem and calling the Rohingya issue of Burma which one having an international crises, according to María Otero, The US Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights.
Ms Maria Otero, who arrived in Bangladesh on November 15, for a three-day visit also met local officials at the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to assess plight of the Rohingya refugees and the situation in the region.

The “Rohingya issue is complicated” and that collective regional efforts were necessary to find a solution to it. In this connection, the US is ready to help Burma, Bangladesh and other countries affected by Rohingya displacement, Ms. María Otero told a press briefing at Cox’s Bazar Airport, following a visit to a camp for Rohingya refugees- Kutupalong makeshift camp- in the districts.

The US under Secretary of State also called upon Burma to restore stability in its riot-hit Arakan state and at the same time urged Bangladesh to respect the rights of Rohingya Muslims and other individuals fleeing violence in the Buddhist-dominant country.

The US asked Bangladesh to allow international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) in giving assistance to refugees who crossed into the country so far from Burma.

The US continued to monitor inter-communal violence and tension in the Arakan State, adjacent to Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district.

The western Arakan state of Burma has been hit twice by communal riots between minority Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists in June and October this year.

Nearly 3000 people mostly Rohingyas have been killed and nearly a 100,000 people were displaced and most of them were sheltered in temporary camps in the troubled states, media reports said.

“We have called on the government of Burma (Myanmar) to hold those responsible for the violence fully accountable under just and transparent procedures according to the rule of law,” a US embassy statement  which quoted Ms. Otero as telling reporters.

“We also urge the Government of Bangladesh to permit international NGOs to continue providing humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya, other vulnerable individuals fleeing the violence in Burma’s Arakan State, and the local Bangladeshi population in the Bangladesh-Burma border region,”

“We stand ready to assist Burma, Bangladesh and other countries in the region affected by Rohingya displacement to reach a comprehensive, sustainable, and just solution to their plight.”

The United States earlier called on all countries in the region to open their borders to Rohingya boatpeople — many of whom are fleeing the violence by taking to the high seas while Bangladesh tightened its border with Myanmar declining to accept a fresh Rohingya influx saying it was already overburdened with thousands of them for decades.

“We expect from the United states to convey a strong message to the government of Burma, so they protect that minority, what is going on there is a genocide,” Djibouti Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, who is the acting OIC chairman, said on November 17, 2012 to AFP.

“We are telling things how they are, we believe that the United States and other … countries … should act quickly to save that minority which is submitted to an oppressive policy and a genocide.”

“International community is trying to promote the situation of Rohingya refugee in Bangladesh, but the authority didn’t allow any INGOs to help the refugee though international community,” said an elder from the unregistered refugee camp.

“We stay here since long, when the Burma gives us the rights as other ethnics, will go back at once. To get this period, we urged Bangladesh government and international community to issue refugee identity card to work outside the camp as refugee like other Burmese community- Rakhine- in Bangladesh.”

“If we are able to work freely outside the camp, we will support our family members.”

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