Foreign minister tells diplomats over Rohingya repatriation
Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen held Myanmar responsible as efforts to begin repatriation of Rohingyas went in vain amid their distrust in the Myanmar government.
“It’s Myanmar’s failure as it has failed to ensure overall security for the Rohingyas in Rakhine State,” Abdul Momen came up with the allegation while briefing the diplomats and representatives of the UN agencies at State guesthouse Padma in Dhaka on Thursday afternoon.
Claiming that Myanmar government has created the Rohingya crisis, Momen said Myanmar will have to put an end to the crisis with its own efforts.
The foreign minister also called upon the global leaders to play a stronger role in mounting pressure on Myanmar so that it is forced to repatriate its people.
“The entire world is supporting Bangladesh and they are beside us to resolve the Rohingya crisis,” he said.
The foreign minister briefed the diplomats stationed in Dhaka about the latest situation on the Rohingya issue, as two consecutive efforts to begin the repatriation of the displaced people failed amid their unwillingness and distrust in the Myanmar government.
The diplomats also assured Bangladesh to work together to ensure immediate repatriation of the displaced Rohingya people.
UN Resident Coordinator in Dhaka Mia Seppo on Tuesday said Bangladesh has “certainly done its part” when it comes to the Rohingya crisis and now it is up to the world to make sure Bangladesh does not shoulder this burden alone.
More than 730,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh after the Myanmar military launched a brutal offensive targeting the mainly-Muslim ethnic minority on August 25, 2017. A UN fact-finding mission said the violence had “genocidal intent”.
The first batch of Rohingyas was scheduled to return on November 15 last year but it was also halted amid the unwillingness of Rohingyas to go back citing a lack of congenial atmosphere in Rakhine State.
Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a repatriation deal on November 23, 2017, but there has been little progress.
On July 29, Bangladesh handed a fresh list of 25,000 Rohingyas from around 6,000 families to Myanmar for verification before their repatriation.
With the latest list, Bangladesh has so far handed the names of around 55,000 Rohingyas to the Myanmar authorities and around 8,000 of them have been verified. Myanmar only cleared 3,450 Rohingyas for beginning the repatriation.
On January 16, 2018 Bangladesh and Myanmar inked a document on “Physical Arrangement”, which was supposed to facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland. The “Physical Arrangement” stipulates that the repatriation will be completed preferably within two years from the start.
US wants voluntary repatriation
Meanwhile m US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller said on Monday that they will continue to put pressure on Myanmar to create conditions on the ground for the “voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable” return of all Rohingyas to Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
“The pressure should be squarely on Myanmar,” he said conveying US’ position which is to see a voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of all Rohingyas to Myanmar.
US Ambassador inaugurated a programme of Care Bangladesh of distributing cash money among 5,000 people of 200 families under assistance programme for flood-hit people in the district.
Ambassador Miller said Bangladesh has opened its heart and border to over a million people who have been persecuted and highly appreciated Bangladesh’s generosity in sheltering Rohingyas.
He said the US is one of the leading countries which provided humanitarian assistance of US$ 542 million both for Rohingyas and the host community in Cox’s Bazar.
China to continue support
Newly-appointed Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming on Thursday said China will play “more constructive role” in resolving the Rohingya crisis.
He made the remarks while talking to reporters after his maiden meeting with Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at his office.
They discussed a number of “important issues”, including ways to find a sustainable solution to Rohingya crisis.
Despite all the preparations, no Rohingya turned up on August 22 to accept the “voluntary” repatriation offer to go back to their place of origin in Rakhine State of Myanmar. This forced the authorities to suspend the repatriation process.
China, which was on the ground during the latest repatriation attempt, is now trying to have a trilateral meeting with Bangladesh and Myanmar to find new ways to deal with the repatriation issue, said a diplomatic source.
NGO operation suspended
During Thursday’s briefing, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said action will be taken against the NGOs operating in Rohingya camps if evidence is found about their activities that go beyond the terms and references.
Meanwhile, the government has suspended six projects of an NGO, Mukti Cox’s Bazar, for allegedly making sharp weapons for Rohingya refugees.
The NGO Affairs Bureau move came on Thursday amid criticisms after some Rohingya Muslims were seen carrying sharp weapons during a recent rally in a refugee camp area.
The government also asked the NGO to explain its “controversial activities among the Rohingya”, the bureau’s Director General KM Abdus Salam told bdnews24.com.
The NGO was making and distributing among the refugees unauthorised items in a clear violation of the law, the bureau’s Deputy Director Abdullah Al Khayrum, who works on Rohingya affairs, said.
The refugees organised the rally in a camp area on Aug 25 to mark the second anniversary of the launch of a Myanmar military-led operation.
Myanmar launched the crackdown in response to militant attacks on security posts forcing more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims flee the Rakhine State into Bangladesh.