US Urges Bangladesh to Allow Rohingya Aid

By Lalit K Jha 8 August 2012

WASHINGTON DC—The United States on Tuesday urged the Bangladeshi government to permit non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to carry out humanitarian assistance to displaced Rohingyas and expressed deep concern that certain relief work had been shut down.

“We urge the government of Bangladesh to permit these NGOs to continue providing humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya, other vulnerable individuals fleeing the violence in Burma’s Rakhine [Arakan] State, and the local Bangladeshi population in the Bangladesh-Burma border region,” said State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell.

“We are continuing to monitor … sectarian tensions in Burma’s Rakhine State and continue to call for restraint, an end to violence and the upholding of principles of nondiscrimination, tolerance and religious freedom,” he added.

Ventrell said that the United States has consistently urged the Burmese government to reach a peaceful resolution as soon as possible and to bring those responsible for violence to justice in a timely manner and in accordance with due process.

A United Nations spokesman hoped that Bangladesh would meet its international obligations. “In the past, the government of Bangladesh has discharged its international obligations by providing and facilitating humanitarian support and assistance to the refugees that have entered its territory,” Martin Nesirky, spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, told reporters.

“Given its traditional hospitality to the people fleeing violence and unrest, notwithstanding the challenges posed by the present situation in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State, we hope that the government of Bangladesh continues to facilitate provision of humanitarian assistance to Muslim refugees,” he said.

Radical Indonesian cleric Abu Bakr Bashir, who is currently imprisoned for supporting a jihadi training camp in Aceh, northern Sumatra, reportedly demanded that the Burmese government stops harming Muslims or face the fury of his fighters, according to a US intelligence monitoring website.

Meanwhile, new Burmese Permanent Representative to the United Nations Thant Kyaw presented his credentials to Ban Ki-moon at the UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday.