Friday, March 24, 2017 06:05:39 AM
Myanmar's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs U Kyaw Tin arrived in Dhaka on Tuesday evening to discuss the burning issue of Rohingya Muslim refugees' influx to Bangladesh against the backdrop of ongoing ethnic cleansing in the Rakhine state.
Officials of Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs [MoFA] told The New Nation last night that the envoy will also discuss other bilateral issues during his three-day visit.
The Myanmar special envoy is scheduled to hold meetings with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Haque and other concerned officials today [Wednesday].
Director General [East Asia desk] of Foreign Ministry Manjurul Islam Khan received the envoy and some other Myanmar government's high officials at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at about 6:30 pm yesterday.
Demanding repatriation of Myanmar citizens, Dhaka on December 29 handed over a diplomatic memorandum to Myanmar Ambassador Myo Myint. But the effort went in vain.
At present, Dhaka is firm to get a fruitful solution over the long-standing Rohingya refugee crisis. According to government statement over 2 lakh Rohingyas have so far been taken shelter in Bangladesh since 1970 after army-backed Myanmar government launched cleansing operation against Rohingyas.
But concerned circle said the number would be more than five lakh while most of them are unregistered. Only in last three months, around 65,000 Rohingya people have entered through different points of Cox's Bazar after the army launched the crackdown.
Meanwhile, at least 65,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh from since the army launched a crackdown in the North of Rakhine State on October last year.
The latest UN report marks a sharp escalation in the numbers fleeing. They also come the same day the UN's human rights envoy for Myanmar Yanghee Lee began a 12-day visit to probe violence in Rakhine State.
On the other hand, quoting the figures collected by UN agencies and international NGOs, head of the International Organisation for Migration [IOM] office in Bangladesh Sanjukta Sahany said about 43,000 Rohingya people had taken shelter in Cox's Bazar crossing the border in the past four months -- between October 5 and January 5.
"The new Rohingya refugees have taken shelter at different camps in Cox's Bazar. As per registration till Thursday last, 17000-18000 undocumented refugees took shelter at Kutupalong Rohingya Camp. About 12000 refugees have taken shelter at Leda unregistered refugee camp while 8000-9000 took shelter at Shamlapur camp. The rest have gone to their relatives at different villages in Teknaf, Ukhiya and Naikhongchhari upazilas of Cox's Bazar," Sanjukta Sahany said.
Echoing the same, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR] in a statement also said that the number of new arrivals in recent weeks has been increasing day by day.
Nobel Peace Laureate and de facto leader of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi has been faced international backlash following her silence over the alleged ethnic cleansing operation against the Rohingya.
Although she vowed to work for peace and national reconciliation, Suu Kyi did not admit the violence in Rakhine state in any of her statements till the date.
On the other hand, former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, who was appointed by Suu Kyi as head of a Commission on Rakhine, expressed his optimism that Naypyidaw would allow journalists to visit the state to get actual picture.
"The issue of genocide and ethnic cleansing are very serious charges. It needs legal review and a judicial determination," he told the media recently in Yangon.
In December last year, Malaysia organized a meeting of ASEAN [Association of South East Asian Nations] foreign ministers over the 'genocide' in Myanmar and took initiatives to organize another meeting under the auspices of OIC [Organization of Islamic Cooperation] on January 19.
Diplomatic circles hoped that, the OIC meeting would a take a proposal over the issue with a view to ending decades-long ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas.
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