“The US will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Bangladesh as the poor and beleaguered Rohingya people have done nothing wrong and did not get their basic rights except persecution and torture by the Myanmar authorities,” he told the media at a press briefing at the American Centre at Baridhara in the capital.
He suggested that the Rohingya refugees should not be forced to return to their own country unless the situation improves for their safe return.
“We are here (Bangladesh) to provide financial and humanitarian support to Bangladesh government so that the refugees can have their basic rights,” he said.
With regard to Rohingya refugees’ registration, Mr Eric P Schwartz said his country will extend support to Bangladesh in this regard.
“We are ready to provide financial and technical assistance to Bangladesh government for Rohingya refugees’ registration,” he mentioned.
“The United States (US) has supported the refugee programme in Bangladesh since 1991. In 2010, the United States provided over US $ 23 million to regional appeals of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of Red Cross, as well as $ 1.28 million to NGO’s assisting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. This is of course in addition to the nearly $ 200 million in development aid provided by the United states to the people of Bangladesh,” he said.
“The United States is eager to continue and to augment supports to the humanitarian efforts of the Bangladesh government. We look forward to consulting closely with Bangladeshi officials in the weeks and months to come,” he mentioned.
The influx of Rohingyas, a Muslim minority in Myanmar’s Arakan state, began in 1991 after they were allegedly driven out by the then ruling military junta of the country.
It is estimated that there some 300,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and of them 24,000 live in two camps of Cox’s Bazar alone.