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POST TIME: 10 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Myanmar still denies atrocity in Rakhine
It’s making solution difficult, say govt officials; World doesn’t believe Myanmar version, say diplomats
HUMAYUN KABIR BHUIYAN

Myanmar still denies atrocity in Rakhine

Against the backdrop of authentic reports of widespread atrocities against Rohingya populace in Rakhine by the Myanmar security forces aided by locals, the Myanmar government is still in denial of any wrongdoings on the part of its forces. On the heels of overwhelming evidence and testimonies of the victims sheltered in Cox’s Bazar, Naypyitaw still tries to tell the world that the influx of Rohingyas to Bangladesh has nothing to do with the ‘legitimate operations’ of the Myanmar military, rather people fled to Cox’s Bazar out of fear of the situation created by the militant groups.

Speaking at a function on the occasion of 70th Independence Day of Myanmar on Thursday evening at a local hotel, Myanmar Ambassador to Bangladesh U Lwin Oo was defending the atrocities orchestrated by his country’s forces against their own people in Rakhine.

Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor spoke as the chief guest at the programme attended by senior officials of the foreign ministry, members of diplomatic corps, media, civil society, civil and military officials.

Few government officials attending the function told The Independent that this very denial of the Myanmar side is making it extremely difficult to find out a solution.

And, some diplomats told this correspondent that the world community does not believe Myanmar’s version.

Naypyitaw’s envoy in Dhaka bluntly shifted the blame on ‘terrorists’ for the influx of the Rohingyas, apparently without showing any remorse for the suffering of more than 10 lakh (1 million) people of his own country.

The substance of his speech was that the ‘terrorists’ created a horrific situation that Muslim people in Rakhine crossed into Cox’s Bazar out of fear.

The ambassador lauded Bangladesh’s zero tolerance against terrorism and expressed his government’s interest to work with Dhaka in this regard.  

Mentioning the arrangement signed between the two countries on November 23 for the repatriation of the Rohingyas, he said that Myanmar wants to amicably solve all the issues with Bangladesh bilaterally.

In his speech, Minister Noor laid emphasis on repatriation of the Rohingyas as soon as possible.

“When you deny the existence of a problem, then how can you solve it? This attitude of Myanmar is making the thing extremely difficult to resolve the protracted problem,” a senior government official said after the speeches of the minister and the Myanmar ambassador.

“In the agreement, it is clearly stated that Myanmar will stop the influx of Rohingyas. But, in violation of the deal, Rohingyas are still coming. Under this situation, you can guess how difficult the repatriation is going to be. Nevertheless, we have to keep on trying,” said another official.

“Look, whatever he (the Myanmar ambassador) says, the world has by now known what has happened with Rohingyas in Rakhine,” said an envoy of a European country.

“The Rohingyas suffered a lot and they should be allowed back to their homes in Rakhine with safety and dignity,” said another senior western diplomat, adding, “The perpetrators must be brought to justice.”