Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina headed for the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on Saturday to plead for global help coping with the Rohingya crisis, as the numbers seeking refuge in her country following a crackdown in Myanmar topped 400,000.
The PM left a day after her government summoned the Myanmar envoy for the third time to protest over its neighbour’s actions. Her office said Hasina would demand more pressure on Myanmar during talks in New York.
Bangladesh has been overwhelmed by Rohingya Muslims since violence erupted in Buddhist-dominated Myanmar’s Rakhine state on August 25.
The UN said Saturday that the total number of people to have entered Bangladesh having fled the unrest had now reached 409,000, a leap of 18,000 in a day.
Conditions are worsening in the border town of Cox’s Bazar where the influx has added to pressures on Rohingya camps already overwhelmed with 300,000 people from earlier refugee waves.
“Sheikh Hasina will raise the Rohingya issue during her speech at the UNGA. She will seek immediate cessation of violence in Rakhine state in Myanmar and ask the UN secretary general to send a fact-finding missing to Rakhine,” a spokesman for the prime minister, Nazrul Islam, told AFP.
“She will also call the international community and the UN to put pressure on Myanmar for the repatriation of all the Rohingya refugees to their homeland in Myanmar,” he said.
The prime minister is to address the UN assembly on Thursday.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali earlier told reporters: “We will continue international pressure on the Myanmar government to immediately end its ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya,” he added.