DHAKA, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Bangladesh Thursday reiterated its stance and discarded international pleas to keep its border open to people seeking sanctuary in the country from sectarian violence in Rakhine State in western Myanmar that has reportedly claimed dozens of lives.
Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni conveyed the South Asian country's stance to the international community in a parliament speech on Thursday evening.
"We'll call upon the international agencies and non- governmental organizations not to make any request to accept Rohingyas in Bangladesh," she said in the parliament, snubbing continuous international pleas to immediately open its border.
"Some of our friendly countries are requesting us to accept them (Rohingyas). Myanmar is also your friend. Tell it (Myanmar) to resolve its problem."
Her remark also came hours after the United States has reportedly expressed its concern over pushing back the Rohingyas seeking refuge after fleeing sectarian violence in Myanmar and urged Bangladesh to accept the refugees.
Bangladesh, which shares about 168 km of border with Myanmar, had earlier dismissed calls from the United Nations refugee agency to accept people fleeing violence in neighboring Myanmar.
The violence that reportedly sparked last week after a Buddhist woman had been raped and murdered in Taungup of Rakhine state, also known as Arakan, has destroyed many residential houses, shops of local ethnic Rakhinese in fire, especially in Maungtaw town close to Bangladesh border, with killing and looting committed.
In the face of the deadly clashes between Muslims and Buddhists, Myanmar on Sunday declared a state of emergency in Rakhine to deal with the violence that had also halted cross border trade between Bangladesh and its southeastern neighbor Myanmar since Friday.
The Bangladeshi government, anticipating further influx of refugees fleeing sectarian violence, has ordered its border and coast guards and local administration to heighten their vigilance along its border with Myanmar.
Bangladesh's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement Tuesday made it clear saying, "The local administration and the law enforcing agencies in the border area have been advised to remain alert and increase vigilance." "Bangladesh never signed any kind of international act, convention or law for accepting and providing shelter to refugees, " Moni said in her parliament speech, adding they (Bangladesh) are not bound to provide shelter to the Rohingyas.
According to the Bangladeshi foreign minister, more than 28,000 registered refugees are currently staying at two camps in Bangladesh where are in addition to 300,000 to 500,000 more illegal Rohingya immigrants in the country.
She said illegal Rohingyas are taking toll on the impoverished South Asian nation's society, environment and the law and order situation. "Bangladesh and Myanmar are maintaining close consultations to ensure that developments in the Rakhine state do not have any trans-boundary spill-over," the foreign ministry statement said.
It said, "Bangladesh appreciates the steps taken by Myanmar in containing the unrest and reaffirms its commitment to stand by the Government and People of Myanmar in their efforts to restore peace and stability in the state of Rakhine."
As the paramilitary Border Guard of Bangladesh blocked hundreds of Rohingyas, New York-based rights group -- Human Rights Watch -- in a statement has also urged Bangladesh to change its position on humanitarian grounds.
"On humanitarian grounds we've allowed them (Rohingyas) for long time. But now its not possible for us," Moni said.
The panic-stricken intruders were mostly of Muslim Rohingya families' women and children, who had very little food and water with them, were reluctant to go back.