Internal conflicts in Myanmar harm Rohingya return efforts: FS

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 00:47, Jul 06,2020


Foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen on Sunday said that conflicts between the Myanmar military and Arakan Army in Rakhine are not helpful for building confidence among Rohingya people to go back to their home.

‘Conflicts have created instability in Rakhine,’ he said in an online discussion organised by the Centre for Research and Information in Dhaka.  

The spread of COVID-19 also slowed down the attempts for repatriating Rohingya people, he said, adding, ‘It does not mean that Rohingya people would stay in Bangladesh for an indefinite period.’

Justifying the government’s decision for sending Rohingya people to Bhasan Char, the foreign secretary said that the congestion in the existing camps in Cox’s Bazar has created risks involving security situation, human trafficking, and  smuggling of drugs.

‘We want to decongest the camps by relocating about 1,00,000 people to Bhasan Char, where there are livelihood opportunities for the camp dwellers.’  

Refugee relief and repatriation commissioner Mahbub Alam Talukder said that measures were taken to extend COVID-19 test and treatment facilities for Rohingya people and local people in Cox’s Bazar.

COVID-19 pandemic situation has also created uncertainty over starting the process of Rohingya repatriation, he said.

UNHCR representative in Bangladesh Steven Corliss, Dr Sumaya Tasnim, medical officer at Leda camp Jani Alam, and a Rohingya youth volunteer participated in the discussion moderated by Showvik Das Tamal.

Bangladesh has been hosting more than 1.1 million Rohingya people for years as two attempts to launch the repatriation on the grounds failed since the signing of agreements with Myanmar over two and a half years ago on sending them to their home in Rakhine. Over 7,00,000 Rohingya people crossed the border to Bangladesh in the last influx that began on August 25, 2017 amid atrocities of the Myanmar military.  

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