logo
POST TIME: 26 August, 2019 00:00 00 AM
‘Myanmar fails to create environment for return’
Diplomatic Correspondent, Dhaka

‘Myanmar fails to create
environment for return’

Rohingya women hold placards during a rally in front of extension-4 of Kutupalong Camp in Ukhiya upazila of Cox’s Bazar yesterday seeking pressure from international community for their repatriation and meet their five-point charter of demands. phocus bangla photo

The government yesterday urged Myanmar to fully concentrate on implementation of its obligations and commitments necessary for a durable resolution of the ongoing Rohingya problem. The Myanmar government should seriously consider engaging the international community to create an environment conducive for the return of Rohingyas to their homeland as well as to monitor the repatriation and reintegration process in Myanmar, according to a foreign ministry statement. The government has also brushed aside the accusation of Myanmar that non-cooperation of Bangladesh has prevented the repatriation process slated for August 22. “Accusing Bangladesh of non-cooperation in the repatriation effort by a party that is fully responsible for the protracted crisis is baseless, ill-motivated and totally unacceptable,” it asserted.

The government maintains its principled position of not preventing anyone, regardless of one’s ethnic and religious identity, who intends to return to Myanmar anytime, the foreign ministry statement says. Myanmar has been repeatedly claiming that it is prepared to receive Rohingyas. On July 27-28, a high-level Myanmarese delegation met with Rohingya representatives at camps in Cox’s Bazar to convince the displaced people to return to their homeland. These steps prompted Bangladesh to facilitate the commencement of repatriation on 22 August.

In line with its commitment to the principle of voluntary return, the government recently handed the list of 3,450 individuals, verified by Myanmar, to UNHCR through the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Dhaka on August 8 to ascertain whether these people are ready to return voluntarily to Rakhine state under the present circumstances.

The government even ensured all necessary arrangements from the Bangladesh side, including the security and logistics for voluntary return of Rohingyas to their homeland.

Out of the list of 3,450 Rohingyas provided by Bangladesh, UNHCR has decided to interview 339 families, comprising 1,276 individuals, till 22 August. In the interview process, all available information and fact-sheets provided by the Myanmar government were shared with the families concerned. Moreover, adequate measures including security arrangements were ensured so that the people concerned could freely express their intent.

Unfortunately, none of the families interviewed agreed to return to Myanmar under the present circumstances. They deemed that the security situation and overall environment in Rakhine state are not conducive for their return.

Almost all the families interviewed expressed their deep concern over the security situation in Rakhine state. An overwhelming majority of the families underscored the lack of progress in addressing justice- and rights-related issues including citizenship, freedom of movement and land-use rights.

All the families interviewed have reaffirmed their desire to return once their concerns are reasonably addressed by the Myanmar government. Diplomats from Chinese and Myanmar Embassies in Dhaka were present in Cox’s Bazar on August 21-22 to monitor the entire repatriation process, including the preparations of the Bangladesh government.

During the recent interactions with the high-level delegation from Myanmar, led by permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on July 27-28, the representatives of the displaced Myanmar Residents called for international civilian monitors’ presence in northern Rakhine to guarantee security and to monitor the repatriation and reintegration process.

The Myanmar delegation also agreed to continue dialogues with the displaced people at frequent intervals to find mutually acceptable solutions, at the earliest possible, on core issues including granting of fundamental rights and citizenship.

The Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh expressed utter dismay that the Myanmar delegation was unable to report any progress concerning their citizenship, rights, and security for their return to Rakhine state.

As per bilateral instruments on repatriation, the responsibility of encouraging the displaced people to opt for voluntary return lies entirely on Myanmar. It is Myanmar’s responsibility to create a conducive environment in Rakhine state through decisive actions and to reduce the trust-deficit among Rohingyas through appropriate measures including dissemination of authentic information on the ground reality.