Bangladesh has ruled out any possibility of accepting 269 Rohingya people who arrived in Malaysia and were detained by the authorities there.
Responding to media reports that Kuala Lumpur may request that Dhaka shelter the Rohingya people detained in Malaysia, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said nothing obligates Dhaka to accept the proposition and it is unwilling to do so.
"Bangladesh will not receive them, and is neither obligated nor in a position to provide shelter to any more Rohingyas," he continued, clarifying Bangladesh's position on the matter on Wednesday.
Dr Momen said if any country finds them, that particular country can do whatever they would like to do and it is not Bangladesh's responsibility.
"Bangladesh is not responsible for a Rohingya person detained on Malaysian territory," he added. "Rohingyas are not Bangladesh citizens, rather, they have been the inhabitants of Myanmar for centuries."
Momen said Dhaka would not shoulder the responsibility of the Rohingya people in Malaysia and, "Instead, we welcome the global leadership and organisations to relocate the persecuted 1.1 million Rohingya people who are now living in temporary shelters in Bangladesh."
According to media reports, Kuala Lumpur's authorities arrested 269 Rohingya people and retrieved the body of a woman from a damaged boat near the Malaysian island of Langkawi, off its northwestern coast.
Quoting Malaysia's Defense Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, international news agency Reuters said Kuala Lumpur might ask for the migrants to be placed on Bangladesh's Bhasan Char Island – where Bangladesh had earlier planned to resettle Rohingya refugees.
"Malaysia also plans to ask the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR to resettle Rohingya migrants in a third country," the report quoted him as saying as well.
Bangladesh hosts over 1.1 million forcefully-displaced Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar and most of them arrived there starting August 25, 2017 after a military crackdown by Myanmar, which the UN called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing" and other rights groups dubbed a genocide.
Even after almost three years, not a single Rohingya refugee has returned home, although Myanmar has agreed to take them back.
On May 21, the foreign minister also called upon the European Union (EU) countries to share with Bangladesh the burden of sheltering the persecuted people – by relocating them to Europe or other countries.
"Providing shelter to Rohingyas is not the responsibility of Bangladesh alone," he said during a video conference with the head of mission of 10 EU countries stationed in Dhaka.