Japan urges Myanmar to create environment for Rohingya repatriation

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Staff Reporter:

Japan has urged Myanmar authorities to create an environment “conducive” to the repatriation of Rohingyas to their place of origin.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had a meeting with State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi this week during her visit to Japan and discussed the situation in Rakhine State.

“It’s essential to create an environment conducive to the repatriation of displaced persons,” the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted Prime Minister Abe as conveying to Suu Kyi.

Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas and most of them entered Cox’s Bazar since August 25, 2017 amid military crackdown on Rohingyas in Rakhine State.

Not a single Rohingya was repatriated over the last two years due to Myanmar’s “failure” to build confidence among Rohingyas and lack of conducive environment in Rakhine State, officials here said.

Bangladesh has so far handed over names of over 1 lakh Rohingyas to the Myanmar authorities for verification and subsequently expediting their repatriation efforts but Myanmar is yet to take back its nationals from Bangladesh, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.

Myanmar is, however, claiming that a total number of 351 “displaced persons” have voluntarily returned from Bangladesh to Myanmar.

An official, wishing to remain unnamed, said this is an effort from Myanmar side to divert the attention and hide their failure to create required conditions for the safe return of Rohingyas.

Talking to UNB over phone, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) Md Mahbub Alam Talukder said he is not aware of such voluntary return.

On January 16, 2018, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed 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.

There were two attempts of Rohingya repatriation on November 15 last year and this year but those turned unsuccessful as Myanmar authorities “failed to build confidence” among Rohingyas and their unwillingness to return for lack of a congenial environment in Rakhine.

During his meeting with Suu Kyi, Japanese Prime Minister Abe said Japan will provide maximum support for Myanmar’s efforts to improve the situation of Rakhine State.

With regard to the alleged human rights violations in Rakhine State, he said, it is indispensable that the Myanmar government and military promptly take appropriate measures according to the recommendations of the Independent Commission of Enquiry.

Regarding the issue of the Rakhine State, Suu Kyi responded that she intends to address this issue “correctly” and will not hesitate to take necessary measures.unb

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