PM accuses Myanmar of dilly-dallying

Ahammad Foyez | Published at 12:01am on September 12, 2019

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday told the parliament that Myanmar was dilly-dallying in the name of resolving the Rohingya crisis, although they signed the bilateral agreements under pressure from United Nations and the international community.

Myanmar was supposed to take steps to create a conducive situation, including ensuring security, freedom of movement and work opportunities for Rohingyas in Rakhine for sustainable repatriation of them, Hasina, also president of ruling Awami League, said.

‘In the light of the failure of Rohingya repatriation twice, we have witnessed that the Myanmar authorities have failed to win the trust of the Rohingya people as well as in creating a conducive situation in Rakhine which would have ensured a dignified return of the Rohingyas,’ the PM said while replying to a question of the treasury bench lawmaker Rumana Ali.

She said that Bangladesh had sent information of 55,511 Rohingyas to  Myanmar for verification. But Myanmar sent back a partial list of the Rohingyas, identifying a portion of them as their citizen.

‘The repatriation process could not be started although we had full  preparation. The Rohingyas did not agree to return,’ she said while taking part in weekly PM question answer session at the parliament.

‘We have seen that Rohingyas are scared of returning to Rakhine due to various reasons, including no improvement of the security situation at the Rakhine State,’ the PM said, adding that Myanmar was not verifying the Rohingyas based on their family history.

‘There exists an uncertainty among the Rohingyas about getting back their houses, lands and immovable properties,’ she said.

Hasina further said that lack of guarantee of freedom of movement as well as citizen and political rights made the Rohingyas resist repatriation.

Over the years, many Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh to escape decades of systematic discrimination, statelessness and targeted violence in Rakhine State in Myanmar.

Over 743,000 of them fled military atrocities including killings, rapes, tortures and burning of houses in the Rakhine State since August 25, 2017. They joined the 300,000 others who had fled to Bangladesh earlier.

Hasina said that Bangladesh had been continuing with its diplomatic effort for Rohingya repatriation at UN and other international platforms. European Union, Australia and United Kingdom have imposed a sanction against Myanmar army officials.

‘We have requested our friend states like China, India and Japan to play necessary roles towards resolving the Rohingya crisis. We hope that Myanmar will create a conducive situation at Rakhine and start taking back Rohingyas soon,’ she hoped.

The prime minister said Bangladesh has given shelter to the forcefully displaced Myanmar citizen on humanitarian grounds.

She said that her five-point proposal at the 72nd UNGA session in 2017 was well accepted by the world leaders.

Her five points included a proposal for Myanmar to stop the violence unconditionally and the practice of ethnic cleansing in the Rakhine State immediately and forever. Secretary General of the United Nations should immediately send a Fact-Finding Mission to Myanmar.

All civilians irrespective of religion and ethnicity must be protected in Myanmar. For that ‘safe zones’ could be created inside Myanmar under UN supervision.

Responding to a question from BNP lawmaker Rumeen Farhana, PM said told parliament that if Awami League believed in politics of vengeance, there would be no existence of BNP in the country.

Rumeen also asked whether the ineffective institutions reflected the scenario of the overall failure of the government in running the state.

In response, Sheikh Hasina said she was the daughter of ‘Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’, who dedicated his life for the wellbeing of the people of this country.

‘Being his daughter I’ve a responsibility towards the people. That’s why I work day and night. I’m always making efforts to make all institutions more active not to make them ineffective,’ she said highlighting the progress of the country in different arenas, which was attained due to the relentless efforts of Awami league government and tireless work by the people.

Hasina said Bangladesh is marching forward because the state machineries was working properly.

She said Ziaur Rahman came in power with the assistance of the killers of her family members. The four national leaders were killed in jail.

‘We’re optimistic that all disputed issues between the countries will be resolved soon. It is expected that we’ll get positive result over the aforesaid issues before my visit to India,’ she told parliament.

 The prime minister is scheduled to visit India on October 3-6 next to attend India Economic Summit of the World Economic Forum with the theme ‘Innovating for India; Strengthening South Asia, Impacting the World’ to be held in New Delhi on October 3-4.