POST TIME: 11 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Transparency over MoU with Myanmar

Transparency over MoU with Myanmar

With the situation of the Rohingyas caught in a stalemate despite a repatriation agreement with Bangladesh, Myanmar, on June 6, signed an MoU with UNDP and UNHCR. Reportedly, the agreement was signed to ensure a safe, dignified and voluntary return of the Rohingyas to Rakhine State. However, the MoU has not been opened to Bangladesh, the country where the displaced people are currently residing. This has raised questions about the UN deal, provoking suspicion about its contents.

Since the MoU is not in public, it would not be judicious to make an absolute comment, though why such a document is hushed up is surely something that triggers concern. In fact, the Rohingya crisis, starting from August last year, has faced so much deliberately created ambiguities in so many levels that the actual truth often seems lost for good. Despite agreements with Bangladesh, the repatriation did not happen; on the contrary, more people fled Rakhine in the face of renewed oppression.

On top of that, a cogent idea of the situation in Rakhine is missing. In such a state, with about one lakh people living in makeshift camps in Bangladesh, the act of UN bodies appear selfishly unilateral. Reportedly, there is discontent among the Rohingyas too because they feel that the MoU, of which they do not have a cohesive idea, may contain clauses that will not give them the rightful place in Myanmar.

The UN secretary general, during a recent visit to Bangladesh, used the word concession, alluding to Myanmar’s administration, which actually means that some of the clauses in the MoU may have been dictated by Myanmar. It appears the UN is capitulating, not Myanmar.

From the angle of the grotesque humanitarian catastrophe, is Myanmar in a position to call the shots? If such is the case, then this MoU, once revealed, will exacerbate the crisis and put UN’s role in tackling the complexity under question.

Since Bangladesh is part of the whole imbroglio, no agreements can be signed or agreed to without Bangladesh playing an active role. Even if separate deals are struck, the contents have to put before all and not kept close to the chest. Chicanery may provide temporary consolation, never a lasting solution.

With almost a year gone, and little progress on the field, patience is growing thin over platitudes. Instead of delivering cliched rhetoric, the UN has to show the MoU to Bangladesh and the Rohingyas, allowing a neutral assessment.