Rohingya return delay to hamper security: PM

Ahammad Foyez | Published: 16:08, Jun 26,2019 | Updated: 00:53, Jun 27,2019


Prime minister Sheikh Hasina speaks in parliament. -- BSS file photo

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said that the security and stability of Bangladesh may be hampered if the displaced Rohingyas would not be sent back.

Responding to a question tabled by Awami League lawmaker Nur Mohammad, the prime minister told the Jatiya Sangsad that it was a very tough matter to arrange food, clothes and accommodation for the over 11 lakh displaced Myanmar nationals for an indefinite time.

‘If we can’t send them back soon, there is an apprehension that our security and stability will be hampered,’ she added.

This is why the government has been making diplomatic efforts to reach a permanent solution since the very beginning of the crisis to send the forcibly displaced Rohingyas back to their homeland, she said.

Sheikh Hasina observed that the displaced people, who were deprived of their basic rights by the Myanmar authorities, were naturally suffering from dissatisfaction.

Noting that any repatriation process is a very complicated and lengthy  process, she said that Bangladesh and the international community were exerting pressure on Myanmar to create conducive environment in Rakhine state [for the Rohingyas to return].

Unfortunately, it is true that the situation has seen no visible progress due to the rigid stance of the Myanmar government, she noted.

In addition, she added, Myanmar is running propaganda in the international arena that the Rohingya repatriation is being delayed for non-cooperation from Bangladesh.

The PM said that Bangladesh repeatedly raised its voice in different forums saying that Myanmar was responsible for taking back all it’s displaced people and Myanmar would have to take initiatives in this regard.

She pointed out that Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a total of three bilateral agreements, adding that the repatriation process was to be completed within two years according to one of the three deals.

‘But the Myanmar government has been delaying the process by creating different tactics,’ she said.

She also mentioned that the international community accepted her 5-point proposals over the Rohingya crisis in the 72th session of the UN General Assembly.

The five points are as follows: Myanmar must unconditionally stop the violence and the practice of ethnic cleansing in Rakhine state immediately and forever; the UN Secretary General should immediately send a fact-finding mission to Myanmar; all civilians, irrespective of religion and ethnicity, must be protected in Myanmar; for this reason ‘safe zones’ could be created inside Myanmar under UN supervision and ensuring a sustainable return of all the forcibly displaced Rohingyas in Bangladesh to their homes in Myanmar.

The fifth point was that the recommendations of the Kofi Annan Commission Report must be immediately implemented unconditionally and in their entirety.

About 740,000 Rohingyas have entered Bangladesh, fleeing a military crackdown in northern Rakhine state of Myanmar beginning since August 2017, raising the number to about 1.14 million of the displaced people of the Myanmar’s ethnic minority group sheltered in Cox’s Bazar camps.

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