Prime Minister Hasina calls Myanmar military’s disinformation regarding Rohingyas ‘disgusting’
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has described the Myanmar military’s use of false pictures as propaganda against Rohingyas as ‘disgusting’.
“What Myanmar is doing is disgusting,” she said. “They are ruining their own reputation. They are diminishing their position on the world stage.”
The prime minister made the remarks in response to a question regarding the Rohingya crisis during a press conference on the BIMSTEC summit at the Ganabhaban on Sunday.
The Myanmar military had distributed a book on the ‘True News’ of the Rohingya crisis in July. A media investigation of the book found that three photographs in it had been falsely represented as being from the Rohingya crisis.
Two of the photos were originally taken in Bangladesh and Tanzania. A third was falsely labelled as depicting Rohingyas entering Myanmar from Bangladesh, when in reality it showed migrants leaving the country.
One of the photographs was of a man recovering the body of Bangalees after a 1971 massacre in Dhaka. The book said the picture showed the brutal killing of Myanmar’s ethnic population by Bangalees.
Over 700,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh from across the border in Myanmar in the wake of a military crackdown in Rakhine State last August. Nearly 400,000 other Rohingyas had also fled to Bangladesh at various times in the past few decades.
Last December, in the wake of international pressure, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed an agreement to return the Rohingyas to Myanmar. But the process has yet to begin. Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has suggested that Bangladesh is responsible for the delay.
Suu Kyi skipped this year’s summit of the BIMSTEC regional group, which consists of seven nations with connections to the Bay of Bengal. Myanmar President Win Myint attended in her stead.
Hasina was asked whether the regional forum had discussed the Rohingya crisis and answered that bilateral issues were usually not discussed at the event. The prime minister did, however, speak to President Myint on the matter briefly.
“He acknowledged the agreement that we have signed. They say they are ready to take them back. We discussed that much. I also spoke to the Thai prime minister.”