Photo: UNDP

Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres arrived in Dhaka early this morning to assess progress towards a safe, voluntary and dignified return of Rohingyas.

The UN chief arrived at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the capital by a Qatar Airways flight (QR 638) at 2:06am (local time).

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali received him at the airport.

Earlier on May 27, 2008, Guterres visited the Rohingya camp as the chief of the UN refugee agency.

After a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the UN chief will attend a session on 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to attend the programme.

The UN chief will then visit Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in the capital’s Dhanmondi area and likely to visit the Holy Cross Girls’ High School in Tejgaon.

Guterres will also meet the United Nations Country Team in Bangladesh at Radisson Hotel in the afternoon.
The World Bank (WB) chief is also scheduled to meet his co-workers at the same hotel.

In the afternoon, Guterres will join a get-together session of UN and WB staff members at the same hotel.
Later in the evening, the Prime Minister will host a dinner in honour of the UN chief at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in the capital Dhaka.

The UN chief will leave for Cox’s Bazar by a special flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines to visit the Rohingya camp on Monday.

Foreign Minister Mr. Ali, WB President and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, among others, will accompany him.

Minister Ali is likely to brief media at Hotel Sayeman in Cox’s Bazar on Monday morning.
The UN chief will visit Kutupalang camp and women-friendly space there.

He is scheduled to Dhaka at 6:00pm on Monday and will brief media at 7:15pm at Radisson Hotel.
Guterres will leave Dhaka early on Tuesday (0040 hrs).

International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) President Peter Maurer who is also in Bangladesh will visit Rohingya camps on Sunday.

UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee is now visiting Bangladesh.

Since August 25 last year, more than 700,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh from Rakhine to escape a brutal military crackdown. The United Nations, the United States and others have termed the atrocities “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

Myanmar has vehemently denied allegations by the US, United Nations and others of ethnic cleansing.

Bangladesh and Myanmar were engaged in a process of preparations with the UN agencies for starting repatriation of Rohingyas.

The two governments have signed three instruments since November 23, 2017, for return of Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh after October 2016, as the Rohingya exodus from Rakhine State continued.

Bangladesh and Myanmar governments signed two memorandums of understanding with UN agencies to ensure voluntariness of the returnees and facilitate safe and dignified return to Rakhine State.

BBN/SSR/AD