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UN-Myanmar deal cannot remain secret : We must not undermine UN efforts

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15th-Jul-2018       
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The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) on Monday claimed that a secret deal has signed between the United Nations and Myanmar over repatriation of Rohingyas staying in Bangladesh. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Myanmar government and UN's two offices -- UNDP and UNHCR. TIB somehow seems not happy as because the contents are yet to be known. That is alright. But the fact remains we have been following the wrong track and created confusion.
 International media on June 29 ran a report that Rohingya refugees returning to Myanmar will have no explicit guarantees of citizenship or freedom of movement throughout the country, under a secret agreement between the Myanmar government and the United Nations. The MoU draft also leaked out online. The citizenship and rights of refugees who return to Myanmar were key points of contention during negotiations over the agreement to restore access to conflict-ravaged Rakhine State for the UN agencies that have been barred since last August.
In the secret deal, the citizenship and other rights of Rohingya people were reportedly denied.  The MoU states "returnees will enjoy the same freedom of movement as all other Myanmar nationals in Rakhine State, in conformity with existing laws and regulations". That means, it will not guarantee freedom of movement beyond the borders of Rakhine or address the laws and regulations that currently prevent Rohingya from travelling freely.
 The details of the deal will be disclosed for due implementation and we shall see how successful the deal is for the good of the Rohingya refugees. It has been our view from the beginning that an arrangement has to be made between the UN and Myanmar for a rightful solution.
It has to accept that only the UN can put the needful pressure on Myanmar for just arrangement for the return of the refugees to their own country. One thing is sure that Bangladesh proved sadly incompetent in thinking that Myanmar does not know about the poor leadership in Bangladesh for curing any concession.
 It will be wrong to suspect honest efforts of the UN. Our own weakness was not much of a help to the role of the international community. We depended mistakenly on India's help.



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