By Nilay Kar Onum and Burcu Arik
Bangladesh wants to see a lasting solution to the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, a Bangladeshi state minister for foreign affairs told Anadolu Agency.
Speaking on the sidelines of the D-8 in Istanbul, Shahriar Alam said the situation of the Rohingya Muslims was unsatisfactory.
“As much as we could, we are helping them, together with Turkey and many other nations supporting us, but we want a lasting solution to this,” he said.
According to Alam, across the border in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine, the districts of Buthidaung and Maungdaw have been deserted.
“The simple mathematics is: No Muslim is left in the state of Rakhine, especially in those two districts.”
Since Aug. 25, around 582,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh, according to the UN.
The refugees are fleeing a military operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages.
“We want to send them [Rohingya] back,” Alam said. “What I meant by saying ‘send them back’ is don’t send them back forcibly. We want the Myanmar government to provide them an environment so that they will go back home safely.”
He called on the international community -- the UN, EU and countries which have political influence on Myanmar -- to talk to the Myanmar government to give Rohingya full citizenship rights.
Myanmar currently does not recognize Rohingya as citizens, claiming they are illegal migrants from Bangladesh, despite the fact that they have lived in Rakhine for generations.
Praising Turkish aid to Rohingya, Alam said: “They have mobilized the humanitarian resources. They are also working internationally to win support for resolving the issue and putting pressure on Myanmar.”
Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has raised the issue at the UN.
“We expect the [UN] Security Council to agree to adopt the resolution on Myanmar,” the minister said.
Last week, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who headed a commission on Rakhine, said that he wanted a resolution to urge the Myanmar government to create conditions that would allow the refugees to return “with a sense of security”.
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.
Last October, following attacks on border posts in Maungdaw, security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, around 400 people were killed.
The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.