February 6, 2018, 4:18 pm
Swiss President Alain Berset on Tuesday said Switzerland calls for the full implementation of the report of the Advisory Commission chaired by Kofi Annan to protect Rohingyas and ensure their safe return to Myanmar.
He said a refugee crisis of this scale had put Bangladesh and the international community under enormous pressure to provide shelter and the most urgent services to more than 688000 people.
‘Switzerland is working closely with Bangladesh, UN agencies and other development partners in order to respond to this crisis,’ the Swiss President told reporters during his visit to Kutupalang camp.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor, Swiss Ambassador in Dhaka Rene Holenstein accompanied the Swiss President in Cox’s Bazar.
President Berset, now on a four-day official tour, arrived in Cox’s Bazar on Tuesday morning to gain a first-hand insight into the ongoing humanitarian crisis and listened to stories of sufferings from Rohingyas.
He visited the camp where he met with Rohingyas who have fled Myanmar in recent months.
The Swiss President also visited the Cox’s Bazar Sadar Hospital which received Swiss contributions.
President Berset extended his appreciation for the enormous efforts being undertaken by Bangladesh government to welcome and host the communities from Myanmar.
Placing emphasis on voluntary, safe and dignified return of Rohingyas to their places of origin, he expressed his concern over about outbreak for the younger generation and the situation of the women, children who need increased protection.
Earlier, the Swiss President went to the Sadar Hospital to officially handover the Swiss contributions, including hospital beds and medical equipment support to the hospital management.
He highlighted the important role played by the doctors and the staff of this hospital in providing much needed medical treatment to patents from the host community as well as the Rohingya arrivals.
Swiss president said Switzerland pledged eight million Swiss francs [equivalent to USD8million] at a conference in Geneva in October for emergency humanitarian aid for the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
On Monday, he announced that this year Switzerland will provide an additional 12 million francs [equivalent to USD12million] for the Rohingya refugees.
He said the agreement on repatriation between Bangladesh and Myanmar was a positive step towards a solution to the current crisis.
‘It’ll be important that all returns are voluntary and safe, and carried out with dignity,’ said the Swiss president.
The Swiss President left Cox’s Bazar for Dhaka in the afternoon to meet civil society representatives in the capital.
The Swiss Embassy in Dhaka said the visit is focused on solidarity with a country that is severely affected by the crisis in neighbouring Myanmar and the establishment of closer bilateral relations.
Given the extent of humanitarian crisis (Rohingya), Switzerland earlier decided to increase its financial contribution to CHF 8 million.
Switzerland also called upon the government of Myanmar to fully respect its obligations under international law, particularly to prevent all the human rights violations and abuses, and ensure that the perpetrators of such violations are brought to justice, thus creating the conditions essential for the refugees’ return.