DHAKA: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the international community to continue pressurising Myanmar to take Rohingya refugees back as soon as possible.
In her meeting with World Health Organisation-South-East Asia Regional Office (WHO-SEARO) Director Poonam Khetrapal Singh at the Gono Bhaban here this week, Hasina said Rohingyas were given shelter in Bangladesh on humanitarian grounds.
She added that it was time that Myanmar should speed up the repatriation process and that the Bangladesh government had completed the biometric registration of the refugees.
"The (Bangladesh) government gave identity cards to Rohingyas so that they could be identified easily and the Myanmar government could take them back," Hasina was quoted by Daily Star Bangladesh as saying.
Hasina further said that Bangladesh was in touch with other countries on the Rohingya issue such as India, China, Thailand and Myanmar.
Praising Bangladesh's efforts on the Rohingya issue, Poonam said that the WHO could collaborate with the country to provide immunisation and medical facilities to the refugees.
Stressing on health and sanitation issues in the Rohingya camps, Poonam added that such issues will be a challenge to tackle them and it had to be done soon before the monsoon season comes in.
Expressing concern over the health condition, sanitation and waterborne diseases of the Rohingyas in the upcoming monsoon, Poonam said it would be a challenging job to tackle the issue. She urged the government to continue its immunisation activities.
Rohingyas are a Muslim minority ethnic group in Myanmar. They have been regarded by many majority Buddhists as illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
More than 600,000 refugees are languishing in Bangladeshi refugee camps after fleeing a brutal Myanmar army campaign launched in August last year.
There are more than 3,00,000 Rohingyas living in Bangladesh, who fled in earlier waves of violence from Myanmar since the last three decades.
The United Nations had said the scorched-earth operation, which had left hundreds of villages burned to ash in Myanmar's Rakhine state, amounted to 'ethnic cleansing'.