‘Myanmar’s initiative not visible for Rohingya repatriation’
Published: 10:15 PM, 19 September 2020 Updated: 09:26 AM, 20 September 2020
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam said no visible initiative has been seen in Rakhine to create a conducive environment for Rohingya repatriation.
“Despite repeated attempts to repatriate, no one agreed to go back,” he made the remarks at an international webinar organized by the University of Swinburne in Australia on Saturday.
Foreign Secretary Masud bin Momen, former Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque and many others spoke on the occasion.
Ambassador of Bangladesh to Australia Mohammad Sufiur Rahman conducted the program.
Referring to Myanmar’s reluctance to take back Rohingyas, the State Minister said, “We have given a list of six lakh Rohingyas for verification and selection and out of them they have given us only 10,000 Rohingya information.”
The meeting of the joint working group on Rohingya repatriation had not been held for the last one and a half years due to Myanmar’s reluctance, the State Minister said.
He said the problem is not between Bangladesh and Myanmar but with “Myanmar and its people.”
Foreign Secretary Masud bin Momen said Bangladesh had given shelter to the Rohingya for the sake of humanity. But now Bangladesh is suffering a lot from this.
Mentioning that the Myanmar military was still conducting operations in Rakhine, he said, “Whether repatriation will happen depends on Myanmar’s attitude.”
Referring to Myanmar’s meeting with Bangladesh on the Rohingya issue on the pretext of Covid-19, Masud bin Momen said, “Rohingyas do not trust the Myanmar government to return.”
“Responsibility will not solve this problem,” he said, adding that establishing a safe zone in Rakhine will be a good idea.
Former Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque said in his speech that normalcy is not prevailing in Rakhine and the Rohingya are completely unprotected due to the volatile situation there. For this reason, Rohingyas do not want to go back. “In order to encourage the Rohingya to return, a zone must be created in Rakhine where they will feel safe,” he also said.
He said ASEAN could take charge of the region or manage it internationally, but under no circumstances could an environment like the Internal Display Person Camp be created.
Ambassador Sufiur Rahman said at least 10,000 Rohingyas had been killed, scores of women tortured and more than 100,000 homes destroyed since the attacks on Rohingyas began in 2017.