Rohingya Return

Bangladesh, Myanmar, China to hold talks today

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 00:16, Jan 19,2021


China, Myanmar and Bangladesh will hold a foreign secretary-level meeting today for sending the forcibly displaced Rohingya people back to Myanmar at the earliest.

Chinese vice-minister Luo Zhaohui, Myanmar permanent secretary Aye Chan and Bangladesh foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen would hold the meeting virtually from their respective capital cities Beijing, Naypyitaw and Dhaka.  

The Bangladesh government is expecting to start repatriation by forming groups of Rohingyas of certain localities or villages in Rakhine from the list of people cleared by the Myanmar authorities, Momen said on Sunday.

For building confidence among the Rohingya people willing to return, the repatriation should be held after ensuring their livelihood, security, health facilities and freedom of movement under unarmed supervision of the members of the international communities in general ‘friends of Myanmar’ in particular, including China, Japan, India, ASEAN member countries, he said.

The repatriation process should be held under the supervision of the UN organisations, the foreign secretary added.

Two attempts to start the repatriation process failed in 2018 as not a single Rohingya expressed willingness to go back to Myanmar citing absence of an environment conducive to voluntary repatriation and lack of safety and security in Rakhine state of Myanmar.   

The military-controlled Myanmar government cleared only 27,640 Rohingyas in three years for taking back after rejecting about 14,400 members of the community on insubstantial grounds, as the Bangladesh side sought clearance for 829,036 Rohingya so far for sending them back to Myanmar.

Some 8,60,000 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, according to the UN agencies.

The latest Rohingya influx took the number of undocumented Myanmar nationals and registered refugees in Bangladesh to over 1.1 million, according to estimates by UN agencies and Bangladesh foreign ministry.

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