ASEAN FMs for speedy return of Rohingyas

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Feb 07,2018 | Updated: 01:17, Feb 07,2018

 
 

Foreign ministers of the ASEAN countries on Tuesday said they look forward to the expeditious commencement of return of displaced Myanmar persons without any delay.
They also stressed the need to find a comprehensive and durable solution to address the root causes of the conflict and to create a conducive environment so that the affected communities
can rebuild their lives.
They said this in a statement issued after a retreat of ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ in Singapore
‘The ministers also looked forward to the expeditious commencement of the voluntary return of displaced persons to Myanmar in a safe, secure and dignified way without undue delay, and stressed the need to find a comprehensive and durable solution to address the root causes of the conflict and to create a conducive environment so that the affected communities can rebuild their lives,’ Singapore’s foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who is chairman of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat held in Singapore, said this in statement after the retreat on Tuesday.
They urged Myanmar to continue to implement the recommendations of the final report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State led by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan.
Singapore has taken over the role of chairing ASEAN for 2018, and this week hosted meetings of the foreign and defence ministers of ten Southeast Asian countries. Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam are ASEAN members.
Five envoys based in Yangon on Tuesday visited the Rakhine State to see preparations of the Myanmar government for taking back Rohingyas who fled violence to Bangladesh.
Ambassadors of China, India, Singapore, Thailand and Bangladesh and the UN resident coordinator participated in the tour.
The Myanmar government organised the diplomatic trip to Maungdaw area, according to UN resident coordinator in Myanmar Knut Ostby.
‘Reflecting on what I saw, the UN & UNHCR have the capacities, best practices & experience to help with repatriation & address the root causes of the crisis in Rakhine,’ Knut Ostby said in a tweet on Tuesday.
‘We’re ready to support solutions,’ he said.
Bangladesh officials in Cox’s Bazar said that foreign diplomats based in Yangon on Tuesday visited Myanmar citizens staying along the zero line.
Bangladesh chargé d’affaires Reyad Hossain said during the trip that Myanmar should take back about 6000 of its nationals staying along the zero line first for smooth beginning of repatriation.
Myanmar government should also launch advocacy to encourage return of persons fled violence in the Rakhine state, he said.
The Bangladesh government on Tuesday assessed preparations of repatriation of Rohingyas from Cox’s Bazar to Rakhine in a meeting in Dhaka on Tuesday with foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque in the chair.
The government has started preparing a list of Rohingyas likely to be proposed for voluntary repatriation in consultation with the UNHCR, officials said.
Over 6,88,500 Rohingyas entered Bangladesh since August 25 when the new influx, what the UN called the world’s fastest-developing refugee emergency, began, according to UN estimation.
Officials estimated that the new influx already took to 11.07 lakh the number of Myanmar people living in Bangladesh. 

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