Bangladesh rejects WB’s Rohingya integration proposal

FE ONLINE REPORT | Monday, 2 August 2021

Bangladesh has rejected international agencies’ proposal to integrate the Rohingya people with the host community in line with the World Bank recommendations, high ups in the foreign ministry said.

World Bank intended to provide TK 20 billion funds for the Rohingya community, provided that their recommendations would be implemented.

The issue of the World Bank recommendations was raised by UNHCR during a negotiation with the government on their involvement in Bhasan Char Island.

The international agencies, which have long been opposing the shifting of the Rohingya community to Bhasan Char, recently agreed to work on the island.

But they placed the WB recommendations on the negotiation table as a condition to start their operations in Bhasan Char.

The WB report recommends providing the Rohingya community with a string of rights including freedom of buying land anywhere in the country, doing business, employment rights like other citizens of the country, freedom of movement.

Commenting on the issue, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said, “WB report said these rights should be given for the bright future of the Rohingya people but we said that their bright future is in going back to their home with dignity” the minister pointed out.

“First of all we do not consider the Rohingya people as refugees. They are persecuted displaced people whom we have provided temporary shelter. So the WB recommendations are not applicable here” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told a group of journalists on Sunday.

 “The international agencies always go for a long term programme for the Rohingya people which are contradictory to our policy as we want immediate repatriation of them. And Myanmar also agree with us and agreed to take back them” the minister added.

Asked what the response of the international agencies was after Bangladesh had rejected the offer, the minister said that they would start renegotiation and Bangladesh proposed to deduct the terms which are against its policy.

However, he came down heavily on ‘some people’, who in exchange of receiving money from these international agencies, are advocating for them

“These people argue that what’s wrong in accepting these recommendations as they are offering huge amount of money” the minister said adding that everybody should be careful about the motive of these people.

He also pointed out that the donors might keep up pressure on Bangladesh for accepting these recommendations.

They may also cause disruptions in funding, he added.

But the minister also mentioned that the rejection will not cause trouble for other projects as Bangladesh has a warm relation with the World Bank.

He also made it clear that not a single penny of the Rohingya fund, donated by other countries, come to the government’s exchequer.

They give the money to their agencies and we do not know how this fund is being spent.

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