Bangladesh has urged Myanmar to fully concentrate on implementation of its obligations and commitments necessary for a durable solution to the Rohingya problem.
“The government of Myanmar should seriously consider a comprehensive engagement of the international community in creating an environment conducive to their return as well as monitoring the repatriation and reintegration process in Myanmar,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here in a press statement on Sunday.
The statement said accusing Bangladesh of non-cooperation in the repatriation effort by a party who is fully responsible for the protracted crisis is baseless, ill-motivated and totally unacceptable.
The government of Bangladesh maintains its principled position of “not preventing anyone, regardless of one’s ethnic and religious identity, who intends to return” to Myanmar anytime.
In view of Myanmar’s repeated claim that they are prepared to receive the displaced people and the recent interactions of a high-level delegation from Myanmar with the representatives of Rohingyas at camps in Cox’s Bazar on July 2019 27-28 to convince the displaced people to return, Bangladesh agreed to facilitate the commencement of repatriation on August 22, said the ministry.
In line with its commitment to the principle of voluntary return, the government of Bangladesh handed the list of 3,450 individuals so far verified by Myanmar to UNHCR through the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Dhaka on August 8 to ascertain whether these people are ready to return voluntarily to northern Rakhine under the present circumstances.
The government of Bangladesh has ensured all the necessary arrangements on Bangladesh side, including security and logistics, for the voluntary return of Rohingyas to northern Rakhine, says the media release.
Out of the list of 3,450 Rohingyas provided by Bangladesh, UNHCR interviewed 339 families comprising 1,276 individuals as of August 22.
In the interview process, all the available information and the fact-sheets provided by the government of Myanmar were shared with the families concerned.
Besides, adequate measures, including security arrangements, were ensured so that the people concerned could freely express their intents.
“Unfortunately, none of the families interviewed agreed to return in the present circumstances, as they consider the security situation and overall environment in Rakhine not yet conducive for their return,” MoFA said.
Almost all the families interviewed expressed their deep concern over the security situation in Rakhine.
Overwhelming majority of the families underscored the “lack of progress” in addressing justice and rights related issues, including citizenship, freedom of movement, and land-use rights.
The Foreign Ministry said all the families interviewed have reaffirmed their desire to return, once their concerns are reasonably addressed by the government of Myanmar.
Diplomats from Chinese and Myanmar Embassies in Dhaka were present in Cox’s Bazar on August 21-22 to monitor the entire repatriation process, including the preparations of the government of Bangladesh, according to the Foreign Ministry.
During the recent interactions with the high-level delegation from Myanmar led by Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 27-28 July 2019, the representatives of the displaced Myanmar Residents called for the presence of international civilian monitors in northern Rakhine to guarantee security and monitor the repatriation and reintegration process.
The Myanmar delegation also agreed to continue dialogues with the displaced people at frequent intervals to find mutually acceptable solutions, at the earliest possible time, on core issues, including granting of fundamental rights and citizenship.
Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh expressed utter dismay that the Myanmar delegation was unable to report any progress concerning citizenship, rights, and security for their return to northern Rakhine.
As per bilateral instruments on repatriation, the responsibility of encouraging the displaced people to opt for voluntary return lies entirely on Myanmar.
“It’s Myanmar’s responsibility to create a conducive environment in Rakhine through decisive actions and reduce the trust-deficit of Rohingyas through appropriate measures, including the dissemination of authentic information on the ground reality,” said the media release.
The non-commencement of repatriation due to unwillingness of the people concerned could therefore be attributed to the failure of the government of Myanmar in fulfilling its obligations, according to the ministry.
In fact, it said, the government of Myanmar needs to take decisive actions with demonstrable political to reasonably address the core concerns of Rohingyas in line with the spirit and provisions of the bilateral instruments on repatriation and the recommendations of the “Advisory Commission on Rakhine State” to create a conducive environment for their return in northern Rakhine.
The government of Myanmar must also assume its responsibility to encourage Rohingyas to opt for voluntary return by sharing authentic information with them in all possible ways, it said.
“Unsubstantiated claims on the part of the government of Myanmar are not going to contribute to repatriation.”unb