POST TIME: 20 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Delay in Rohingya repatriation
Myanmar again blames Bangladesh

again blames 

The Myanmar government has once again pointed fingers at Bangladesh for the stalled repatriation of Rohingya refugees, citing lack of cooperation. A Myanmar government spokesman recently told the Myanmar media that the Rohingya crisis would continue as long as Bangladesh does not cooperate. Bangladesh will be responsible if it does not start the repatriation process soon, he said. However, Bangladesh has strongly opposed such comments and urged Myanmar to take back their nationals who have been staying in Bangladesh for over two years.

Myanmar government spokesman U Zaw Htay told the Myanmar media on Friday: “As long as Bangladesh doesn’t cooperate, this problem will continue. There was a problem in 1993. But there was cooperation back then and hence the repatriation was successful. The problem is occurring again as Bangladesh hasn’t cooperated with us this time around.”

Quoting U Zaw Htay, The Irrawaddy, a Myanmar media outlet, reports: “Bangladesh on the international stage called for action and sanctions against Myanmar. It shouldn’t behave like that. The country has acted improperly.”  

“Bangladesh says one thing to us and another to the media. So, we have to conduct tripartite talks with the Chinese foreign minister, Myanmar state counsellor’s office minister U Kyaw Tint Swe, and the Bangladesh foreign minister. Only then will we have witnesses to support our argument,” U Zaw Htay said during his Friday press conference in Naypyitaw.

U Kyaw Tint Swe held talks with the UN secretary general and foreign ministers of China and Bangladesh at the recent UN General Assembly, said U Zaw Htay.

“At that time, the Bangladesh foreign minister made promises before the Chinese minister and set a date for repatriation. So, we took it for granted and made preparations. But the repatriation didn’t start,” he claimed. About the situation in Rakhine province for safe return of the Rohingyas, U Zaw Htay said: “The Myanmar government has failed to handle the Rakhine crisis properly and the situation hasn’t improved, according to former Muslim political prisoner U Tun Kyi. The government, if it is to take the refugees back, has to ensure their safety, citizenship, and fundamental rights.”

“The international pressure will only increase if the government neglects those things. Bangladesh is putting pressure on the international community due to the burden of refugees. Our country has suffered a lot as it is faced with problems during the transition,” he also said.

“It is necessary that Bangladesh cooperates as a good neighbour. Without its cooperation, this humanitarian crisis will only worsen. If Bangladesh, which has accepted refugees, cannot start the repatriation process, it will be responsible for the crisis,” he added.

Regarding the recent cases filed at the International Court of Justice by the Gambia while the International Criminal Court seeks to convict individuals responsible for crimes against Rohingyas, the Myanmar spokesperson said: “Prosecuting Myanmar will not resolve the problem.”

This is not the first time Myanmar blamed Bangladesh and held it responsible for the delay in the repatriation. Earlier, on August 23, Myanmar blamed Bangladesh for the failure of the second attempt to repatriate the Rohingyas. During the 18th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement on October 23 in Baku, Azerbaijan, a spokesman of Myanmar union minister for international cooperation, U Kyaw Tin, in his statement accused Bangladesh of mischaracterising the Rohingya crisis as ‘religious persecution’, ‘driving an ethnic group out of the country’, and ‘ethnic cleansing’ or ‘genocide’.

However, Bangladesh at that time sharply reacted to Myanmar’s persistent campaign to mislead the international community with fabricated information, misrepresentation of facts, unsubstantiated claims, and undue accusations.

The Bangladesh foreign ministry at that time rejected such baseless accusation, falsification, and misrepresentation of facts. It urged Myanmar to stop such concocted campaign and concentrate on the fulfillment of its obligations.

“We’ve strongly opposed such comments of Myanmar and urged them to refrain from such comments and start the repatriation process,” Bangladesh foreign secretary Shahidul Haque told The Independent yesterday.

“Myanmar tried to blame Bangladesh several times for the delay in the repatriation. But we’ve told them and the international community on several occasions that Myanmar has created the problem and has to settle it,” he added. He also said Myanmar cannot evade the responsibility for what it has done against the Rohingyas.