Swiss President Alain Berset, now in Dhaka on a four-day official visit, on Monday said the situation of Rohingyas is of great concern to his country and laid emphasis on their safe and voluntary repatriation to Myanmar. He appreciated Bangladesh for its role in dealing with the biggest humanitarian crisis.
“Switzerland commends your government and the people of Bangladesh for the solidarity, assistance and protection offered to the Rohingyas,” President Berset said in a statement after his official talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The Swiss President said Switzerland pledged eight million Swiss Francs at the conference in Geneva in October for emergency humanitarian aid for the Rohingya refugees in the country.
“And I’m very pleased to announce today that this year Switzerland will provide an additional 12 million Francs for the Rohingya refugees,” he added.
He said the agreement on repatriation between Bangladesh and Myanmar is a
positive step towards a solution to the current crisis.
“It’ll be important that all returns are voluntary and safe, and carried out in dignity,” said the Swiss President.
President Berset will visit Cox’s Bazar on Tuesday to see Rohingya situation on the ground as Switzerland provides humanitarian aid for them.
He will leave Dhaka for Cox’s Bazar at 9am by a Swiss Federal Council Jet and is expected to reach there at 9:40am, an official told UNB.
He will visit the Kutupalong camp in Cox’s Bazar from 11:30am to 1:50pm on Tuesday and listen to the stories of horrific tortures faced by Rohingya people in Myanmar.
The Swiss President will also talk to local press at Kutupalong camp, said the official.
He will leave for Dhaka at 3:15pm and 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 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.
Berset arrived here on Sunday on a four-day official visit, the first official visit by any Swiss President to Bangladesh.