Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday asked how long could her country bear such a huge burden of more than 1 million Rohingya refugees.
More than 1.1 million Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh are causing a long-term social problems in the country, as many of them are engaged in arms, drug, and women trafficking, she told newly-appointed Canadian High Commissioner, Lilly Nicholls, who called on her at her Sangsad Bhaban office.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh is providing temporary shelter to 100,000 Rohingyas on Bhasan Char Island where they will get better facilities.
The High Commissioner said that Canada will always support Bangladesh in this regard, and that her country is creating an additional fund, through charity, for Rohingyas.
She also said Canada is highly pleased to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties with Bangladesh, while also congratulating Bangladesh on the celebration of the golden jubilee of its Independence and the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Noting that Canada has been supporting Bangladesh since its Liberation War, Sheikh Hasina said Canada had worked closely with Bangladesh since the beginning of the Covid pandemic and thanked it for donating vaccines and equipment.
She appreciated Canada saying that the number of Bangladeshi students is increasing in its universities and requested the Canadian government to include Bangladesh in the Student Direct Stream program.
“We have special relations with Canada,” she said.
Both discussed the Russia-Ukraine conflict and agreed that war always causes suffering to people.
As both agreed that bilateral trade and business can grow further, Sheikh Hasina said that she looks forward to boosting trade and investment with Canada and that the large Bangladeshi diaspora in Canada is positively contributing in enhancing people-to-people contact between the two nations.
The Premier said that she expected that Nicholls would play her role in strengthening the existing excellent relations between the two countries, and assured all possible support to her for discharging her duties.
Ambassador-at-large M. Ziauddin and Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus were present at the meeting.