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India recognizes humanitarian burden shouldered by Bangladesh’s society and economy, says ASEAN forum report

By SM Najmus Sakib 

DHAKA, Bangladesh (BT) – India has urged the world community to help Bangladesh deal with the huge Rohingya influx from Myanmar, saying it poses a threat to regional security.

India recognizes the humanitarian burden on Bangladesh’s society and economy, said the Security Outlook 2019 of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum held on Friday, according to BSS, Bangladesh’s state-run news agency. 

India praised Bangladesh’s generosity towards displaced people in the report, the agency reported on Saturday

“India is deeply conscious of the humanitarian and security implications of the displacement of nearly one million people (Rohingya) in Bangladesh from contagious areas of Rakhine state in Myanmar,” said the outlook report.

“India recognizes the economic burden this crisis places upon Bangladesh’s society and economy,” it added.

The report said bordering northeastern India, Myanmar’s stability and prosperity is crucial for regional security. India has provided aid to Myanmar to facilitate the return of Rohingya to Myanmar’s Rakhine state, the place of their origin.

Thailand, as the ASEAN chair, hosted this year’s forum with the participation of foreign ministers from 26 countries and representatives from the European Union, U.S., U.K., Japan, China, and India.

Addressing the event, A K Abdul Momen, Bangladesh’s foreign minister, sought support and cooperation from the world community to carry out the Rohingya repatriation to Myanmar in a safe manner.

– A persecuted people

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled “Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience.”

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

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