Myanmar rigid on Rohingya repatriation conditions

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 00:34, Dec 19,2019 | Updated: 18:03, Dec 19,2019


Myanmar demonstrated on Wednesday that authorities in the country is still rigid not to accept major demands of the Rohingyas on creating conditions for repatriation of the forcibly displaced members of the community to the Rakhine state.

A delegation of the Myanmar government exposed this in a dialogue with the Rohingya people in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh on Wednesday with asserting that the country would accept people who would be able to present valid legal documents of their residency, according to an official of an international organisation.

Rohingya representatives present in the meeting said most of the returnees would not be able to present valid registration card as they had left their respective houses amid atrocities, arson and killing by Myanmar military and their cronies in Rakhine.

The Myanmar side declined to extend assurance for granting citizenship before physical repatriation of the members of the community.     

Rohingya people should formally apply for citizenship only after their return, Myanmar officials said.

Rohingya representatives declined to accept this saying that the Myanmar government should extend prior assurance before physical repatriation of the members of the group.

For ensuring safety and security on their return, Rohingya people demanded presence of international observers, said the official adding that the Myanmar side turned down the demand suggesting that the Myanmar administration themselves would look after safety and security issues.

Chan Aye, director general of the international organisation wing of Myanmar foreign ministry, was leading the 9-member Myanmar government delegation in the dialogue held at Kutupalong extension camp 4 under the Ukhiya police station On Wednesday afternoon.

Our Correspondent in Cox’s Bazar added that a total of 47 Rohingyas people, including six women, participated in the dialogue.

Rohingyas representatives Mohibullah, Abdur Rahim, Syed Ullah, Mohammad Anis, Jobair Ahmed and Jomadila Begum participated in this dialogue on behalf of the community.

Mohammad Anis, a Rohingya belonging to Buthidaung in Rakhine, told New Age after the dialogue that the prime demands of the community ‘are citizenship, security and ethnic identity.’

‘If the Myanmar government fulfils our demand we will go back,’ he said, adding, ‘We would not go to Myanmar if our rights were not ensured.’

Myanmar delegation leader Chan Aye told journalists that they were visiting the camp for dialogue with ‘Bengali Muslims from the Rakhine state for their return to Myanmar.’

On the question of ethnicity the members of the community, he said, ‘They are historically Bengali, not Rohingya.’

The two sides would continue dialogue for the second day on Thursday.

A seven-member ASEAN team was also present during the dialogue.

Refugees, relief and repatriation commissioner Mahabubul Alam Talukdar received the Myanmar team in Cox’s Bazar.

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