Myanmar would need to take adequate measures for building confidence among the forcibly displaced minority Rohingya community so that they would want to go back their homes in Rakhine, foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque said on Monday.
‘There are certain things need to be in place so that Rohingyas feel confident to go back to their own homes in Myanmar,’ Haque, who was in Rakhine State of Myanmar recently, said while talking to reporters in Dhaka.
He said Myanmar showed what preparations they took so far for starting repatriation from Bangladesh.
‘I would say something is done…some time is needed to that end,’ he said, adding that confidence building among Rohingyas ‘cannot be done quickly’, according to United News of Bangladesh.
The foreign secretary, however, reiterated his hope to start repatriation of the Rohingyas.
Foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali led the Bangladesh delegation to Rakhine on Saturday where they saw trails of widespread devastation suffered by the people of the northern Rakhine State, foreign ministry said, without elaboration. This was for the first time a Bangladesh minister was allowed to visit northern Rakhine.
In Rakhine, they visited village Pan Taw Pyin from where most of the 15,000 inhabitants fled to Bangladesh. They also visited village Kain gGyi inhabited by ethnic Rakhine and Mro people and saw marks of devastation.
The delegation visited reception centers at Taung Pyo Let Yar and Nga Khu Ya, a transit camp at Hla Poe Kaung having capacity to house thirty thousand people, to demonstrate Myanmar’s preparation to receive the returnees.
They also visited village Shwe Zar where around 148 pre-fabricated houses for returnees are being built with assistance from the Indian government.
Widespread insecurity of members of religious and ethnic minority communities, strict restrictions on their freedom of movement in Rakhine State and lack of trust on Myanmar authorities would be huge obstacles to start repatriation of Rohingyas from Bangladesh to the country, several members of Bangladesh delegation members who recently visited Rakhine said.
Lack of livelihood measures and risk of staying in cramped camps with families for long would also dissuade Rohingyas to return to Rakhine, they said as Myanmar authorities started constructing shelters for prospective returnees at isolated places with possibilities of making the camps permanent settlements.
Myanmar particularly requested Bangladesh to stop providing humanitarian assistance to those people by ICRC, UNDP, INGOs from Bangladesh side and proposed to arrange supply of humanitarian assistance from Myanmar side.
About 7,00,000 Rohingyas, mostly women, children and aged people, entered Bangladesh fleeing unbridled murder, arson and rape during ‘security operations’ by Myanmar military in Rakhine, what the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing and genocide, beginning from August 25, 2017.
The ongoing Rohingya influx took the number of undocumented Myanmar nationals and registered refugees in Bangladesh to about 11,16,000, according to estimates by UN agencies and Bangladesh foreign ministry.
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