Government muses for midterm plan on Rohingya crisis: FS

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 00:46, Jan 02,2020


The government is likely to set its sight on medium term and long term policies to face the Rohingya crisis, according to new foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen.

‘We have signed a MoU (memorandum of understand) on repatriation of Rohingya people to Myanmar two years ago and the launching of physical repatriation is taking time,’ he told members of Diplomatic Correspondents, Bangladesh at his office on Wednesday afternoon. ‘We may require considering medium to long term solutions.’

Asked about the challenges for the 2020, he said repatriation of Rohingya people of Myanmar from Bangladesh would be a challenge. 

It was important to remain engaged in three spheres with efforts for repatriation through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms as well as ensuring accountability to prevent recurrence of influx in future, Momen said.

Ensuring accountability for atrocities committed in Rakhine ‘is a part of confidence building measures among Rohingya people’ for their return to their home, he said.

When his attention was drawn challenges in Bangladesh-India relations amid incidents involving Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens of India and reported infiltration of people from India to Bangladesh, he replied, ‘Challenges remain among next-door neighbours like the US and Mexico.’   ‘We are observing the situation,’ he said, adding that the Indian side has assured that the CAA and NRC issues were their internal matters and they were going through a legal process too.

Momen hoped that the issues involving CAA and NRC would be resolved peacefully. ‘It is important to remain attentive so that these issues do not overshadow other issues’.

More than 7,00,000 Rohingyas, mostly women, children and aged people, entered Bangladesh after fleeing unbridled murder, arson and rape during the last security ‘security operations’ by Myanmar military in Rakhine, what the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing and genocide, beginning from August 25, 2017.

The on-going Rohingya influx took the number of undocumented Myanmar nationals and registered refugees in Bangladesh to about 11,16,000, according to estimates by UN agencies and Bangladesh foreign ministry.

An UN-mandated independent fact-finding commission concluded that the attacks on the Rohingya people were carried out with ‘genocidal intent’. It also warned that roughly 6,00,000 Rohingyas currently living in Myanmar face a ‘serious risk of genocide’.

Not a single Rohingya returned to Rakhine as Bangladesh and Myanmar took two attempts since the two countries signed three agreements, in last two years, for facilitating the repatriation of people who crossed over to Bangladesh since October 2016.

Rohingya people are unwilling to go back to Rakhine without guarantee of Myanmar citizenship, confirmation of their ethnic identity and assurance for safety, security and human rights under international supervision.

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