Dhaka for re-start of Rohingya repatriation before monsoon
Published : Wednesday, 20 January, 2021 at 12:00 AM Count : 909
Bangladesh is optimistic about a re-start of the Rohingya repatriation process before the monsoon and holding of a joint working group meeting next month to prepare the ground for repatriation. Expressing his satisfaction over the outcome of the tripartite meeting, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen said, "I would say we remain cautiously optimistic." He told journalists at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after a tripartite virtual meeting with Myanmar and China on Tuesday. The virtual tripartite meeting among Bangladesh, Myanmar and China lasted about 90 minutes, Vice Minister of China Luo Zhaohui joined the meeting from Beijing with Bangladesh and Myanmar delegations. Bangladesh has pushed Myanmar hard on creating a favourable environment for Rohingya repatriation and 'cautiously expressed optimism' to begin it in the second quarter of this year. "We prefer village-based repatriation as they will feel safe and secure with mostly relatives and neighbours in a village or area," Momen said.
At the meeting Bangladesh has proposed village-based repatriation of the Rohingyas, but Myanmar said they would like to start off with the 42,000 who have already been verified out of a list of some 830,000 Rohingyas living in camps in Cox's Bazar. China and Myanmar have also been positive regarding Dhaka's proposal of keeping international community's presence in Rakhine when Rohingya repatriation happens, the Foreign Secretary said. At the meeting, Myanmar sought assurances that the Rohingyas will abide by Myanmar's laws and regulations. They also mentioned about the presence of ARSA in different camps. "We said we don't allow any insurgents on our soil. There are some criminal groups, but they don't have any religious or political identities," Momen said. To expedite the Rohingya repatriation process the tripartite meeting among Bangladesh, Myanmar and China discussed ways and means to resolve the issue. The Foreign Secretary said they want to proceed by taking lessons from the two failed attempts so that this time the repatriation can be started successfully, he did not elaborate. China provides the 'tripartite' framework to the dialogue saying that it (China) will continue to support the other two countries to find an early and durable solution to resolving the Rohingya crisis. China also assured that it will promote peace, development and prosperity in the region. Bangladesh and Myanmar signed the repatriation deal on November 23, 2017. They then signed a document on 'Physical Arrangement,' which was supposed to facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland. But repatriation attempts failed twice in November 2018 and August 2019 - clearly amid Rohingyas 'lack of trust' in the Myanmar government and things would have been different had they returned. Over 800,000 Rohingyas fled the 'genocidal violence' and Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas. More than three years ago, Myanmar's soldiers 'targeted, killed, and raped' Rohingyas and burned their villages, as the United Nations, Refugees International, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the US State Department itself, and many others have documented. Bangladesh has handed over a list of 840,000 Rohingyas to Myanmar for verification. During the meeting Bangladesh side said that Myanmar has verified very few people in last two years, they're very slow. They verified only 42,000 people or only 5 per cent from the verification list. Bangladesh is always hopeful of beginning the repatriation as history says they took back their nationals in 1978 and 1992 although the number was very few. Bangladesh is trying in multiple ways-bilaterally, multilaterally, tri-laterally and through the judicial system-to find a lasting solution to the Rohingya crisis.