Myanmar must convince its nationals to go back: FM
He seeks strong global response to resolve Rohingya crisis
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Friday said Bangladesh will take a tougher position over Rohingya issue saying the global leadership must resolve it quickly to ensure greater peace and stability in the region.
"We tried our best, we worked as per your suggestions but finally it (repatriation) didn't happen. We'll make our position stronger," he said.
AK Abdul Momen has called on Myanmar to be "accommodative" towards the demands of Rohingyas so that they get the confidence to return home.
"We are still hopeful," he said on Friday, a day after a second failed attempt to start the repatriation of Rohingyas, The process is still on, said Momen, adding, "Myanmar could not create confidence among them (Rohingya refugees). It's their responsibility to do that. They (Rohingyas) don't trust Myanmar. Myanmar has to address this trust-deficit".
The Foreign Minister was talking to reporters after a discussion titled "15 August and Its Impact on Bangladesh" at Bangabandhu Memorial Trust auditorium organised by Awami League's international affairs sub-Committee.
Dr Momen said Bangladesh gave Rohingyas the shelter on humanitarian ground but they are not Bangladesh's headache rather it is the headache of the whole world.
He said Myanmar "must be accommodative" and it must "convince" their nationals to go back to their place of origin in Rakhine State. "We did whatever we can from our part."
Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas and most of them entered the country since August 25, 2017.
He asked the international agencies to focus their attention on the Rakhine State instead of Cox's Bazar. "We are taking care of them (Rohingyas) here".
The Rohingya people have given some conditions for returning, including their citizenship and justice for the crimes such as murder, rape, arson committed against them.
"Myanmar must be accommodative," the foreign minister said. "If they are not sensitive, then they (Rohingya) will not go back because of fear". "It's the responsibility of Myanmar. They must convince their nationals."
He said they are also thinking of an international commission that will work in the Rakhine. "I told UNHCR and others… you don't need to be here….go to Rakhine," he said.
The UN agencies are still struggling with the access to the troubled villages in Rakhine. The UNHCR in a statement on Thursday sought "more predictable and effective access" from Myanmar so that they can work to build confidence. "The UN cannot avoid the responsibility," he said, when asked.
"The hatred has been there (Rakhine) for a long time. But they did not take that seriously. The UN could take a lead to lessen the hatred."
He indicated about slower fund flow -- both from locally and internationally -- which might create problems for the Rohingyas though they are living a comfortable life now. "For their own better future, they should go back."
The Foreign Minister said their efforts will continue for voluntary and safe return of Rogingyas to their place of origin.
The two countries 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 to Rakhine State.
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.
The first batch of Rohingyas was scheduled to return on November 15 last year but it was halted amid the unwillingness of Rohingyas to go back for lack of a congenial environment in Rakhine.