Rohingya repatriation talks: Talks of no implication
Bangladesh-China-Myanmar tripartite talk on Rohingya issue has been scheduled to begin in Dhaka on 19 January. It is expected that Bangladesh will stress on beginning the repatriation process before the upcoming monsoon. According to foreign ministry officials, Bangladesh has provided a list of 835,000 Rohingyas for repatriation in six phases from January 2018 to December 2020 to Myanmar. In response to Bangladesh's initiative, Myanmar went through the list and sent it back with only 42,000 names selected--which is incomplete.
Nonetheless, an agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar for the repatriation of the Rohingyas was signed on 23 November 2017. Basically, the 87,000 Rohingyas who had fled into Bangladesh due to brutalities of the Myanmar army in October 2016 and the 655,000 who fled after August 2017 were to be sent back under this agreement. It had been decided to send them back to Rakhine in Myanmar within two years of the start of repatriation, according to the deal. Had the repatriation process begun accordingly, then at the outset 1,500 Rohingyas would be repatriated every week. Frustratingly, it has been three years since the agreement was signed, but the repatriation process hasn't even begun. Dates had twice been fixed, but nothing happened.
It is a fact that before the beginning of repatriation process, the confidence of the Rohingyas about their safety in Myanmar has to build up. To ensure security, Bangladesh proposed to take a team of Rohingyas to inspect the situation in Rakhine. Unfortunately, it has also not been materialised properly.
Under the current circumstances, there are doubts how far the repatriation process will be successful, even with the involvement of China. Under China's mediation, 22 August 2019 had been fixed to start repatriation, but not a single person was sent. Over the past three years, Myanmar has done nothing in Rakhine to encourage the Rohingyas to return.
It is true that Rohingya problem will not be resolved without international pressure, since Myanmar still has not changed its attitude regarding the issue UN Security Council resolution, stern stand by the powerful countries and the verdict of the international court can effectively resolve the problem. Also, it will be effective if China puts pressure on Myanmar, since the country is the sole defendant of Myanmar in international arena. Whatever the progress is, Bangladesh should not desist from taking diplomatic effort to persuade the powerful countries to force Myanmar taking back its people with full citizenship and dignity.