Statement by H.E. Sheikh Hasina, Hon’ble Prime Minister at the High-level event on Rohingya Crisis, Conference Room-11, United Nations Headquarters, 21 September 2023

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim


Ladies and gentlemen.

Assalamu Alaikum and a very good afternoon.

On behalf of Bangladesh and other co-sponsors [Canada, Gambia, Malaysia, Türkiye, United Kingdom and United States of America], I thank you all for your presence.

Today we are gathered here to once again remind ourselves of the enduring suffering of Rohingya minorities. Six years have elapsed since the world witnessed the tragic exodus of the Rohingyas from Myanmar. Within a few months’ time, nearly a million people ran into Bangladesh as they saw their houses being burnt; families being killed. Since then, we have been sheltering them in our country and providing them with basic humanitarian services. I thank all our partners and friends for their solidarity as well as political and humanitarian support to this cause.

However, the issue has now reached a point of stagnation. Not a single displaced Rohingya has been able to return to Myanmar in last six years. Their prolonged presence in Bangladesh is not only pushing them further to hopelessness, it is also turning the situation in Cox’s Bazaar precarious. The host community has become victim of their own generosity.

On top of that, global attention to their needs is rapidly diminishing. This is evident in the increasing funding gaps to the humanitarian response plan.



We are aware that the entire world is going through turmoil. Number of people displaced by conflict, climate change and other factors have reached the record high. The international community is overwhelmed by the scale and dimensions of multiple crises that we all, as a humanity, are faced with.

However, we cannot forget the Rohingya. The 2017 exodus was not an isolated incident. They have been victims of persecution and exclusion in Myanmar for decades. And we have a responsibility to redress their victimization in a comprehensive manner. Humanitarian assistance important for their sustenance, but it is not enough. We need to ensure that they are able to return to their homes in Myanmar and pursue a life of dignity and certainty.

And for that, we need to address the problem at the root, which lies in Myanmar. They need protection and opportunities in their own country, so that they do not have to flee from their homes. I believe, many of you present here, who have been hosting large number of Rohingya for decades – Malaysia, Saudi Arabia – would agree with me.



For Bangladesh, hosting over a million displaced Rohingya for a long period has never been an option. Bangladesh is a small country with high density of population. As one of the worst victims of global warming and sea level rise, we are already overburdened with the increasing number of climate-induced internally displaced persons.

Aside from that, the prolonged presence of Rohingya has entailed grave social, economic and security repercussions for our people. Biodiversity of Cox’s Bazar is seriously damaged with destruction of 6,800 acres of reserved forest, which now is known as the largest refugee camp in the world.

Against this backdrop, we have to focus on the early implementation of the bilateral arrangement of return, that we signed with Myanmar in November 2017. We are working with Myanmar to commence repatriation of the verified Rohingyas in small batches. In order to ensure that the process is transparent and voluntary, series of interactions have been facilitated between the Rohingya and the authorities of Myanmar. The experience of the first batch of returnees would be crucial in guiding us in future and addressing the gaps in the process.


The pilot repatriation project, if implemented successfully, will keep the hopes alive. I hope the international community will come forward to help the Rohingya returnees reintegrate in Rakhine. The presence of humanitarian and development entities in Rakhine will act as important confidence building measure. The regional countries, especially the ASEAN members, with their close and historic relationship with Myanmar, can take the lead role. Based on the comprehensive need assessment of the AHA center, small community-based projects may be undertaken involving the returnee Rohingyas.

In the meantime, continued international attention is needed to effectively address the root causes of the Rohingya crisis. Implementation of the Security Council and General Assembly Resolutions on Myanmar is critical in this regard.

Equally important is maintain focus on the justice and accountability processes. Unless and until the perpetrators of atrocities are held accountable, the risks of further persecution will stay alive. Besides, the Rohingya victims and survivors will not be able to truly reconcile with their past and constructively pursue their future in Myanmar, if they do not get justice.

My country is fully committed to the accountability processes and we are closely working with ICJ, IIMM and ICC. [I am happy to see the ICC prosecutor with us today]. I urge all other member States to cooperate with the international justice mechanisms working in this regard.

I urge the world community to –

  1. Remain seized of the matter and continue to keep this issue on the top of our agenda;
  2. Continue our humanitarian efforts to ensure sustenance of these ill-fated and hapless human beings;
  3. Pursue ongoing and available legal and multilateral mechanisms to ensure accountability of the perpetrators who committed persistent, systemic and systematic heinous atrocities against this ethnic minority;
  4. Redouble our concerted efforts to ensure lasting solutions to this problem originated in Myanmar – among all options voluntary repatriation being the most viable one.

I will conclude now. I look forward to listening to you all. Thank you!