Saturday, May 30, 2020 11:41:02 PM
has urged Naypyitaw to remove all hurdles to the repatriation of
Rohingyas and take concrete steps to create conditions conducive to
their return. In the fourth Bangladesh-Myanmar Joint Working Group (JWG)
meeting on Friday, Dhaka emphasized the need for positive steps towards
a "well-defined time-bound pathway" to citizenship that would encourage
the Rohingyas to return home voluntarily. Bangladesh particularly
stressed the need for removing legal and administrative barriers,
including freedom of movement, safety and security, to ensure basic
rights of the returnees. The most persecuted people fled the "textbook
example of genocide" by the military in August 2017 before the global
witness. Due to complex geostrategic politics, the world failed to be
united to stop the mass persecution, while Bangladesh has been bearing
the burden of the refugee crisis despite the high scarcity of lands,
water and healthcare facilities.
The repatriation process remained stalled although Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a bilateral deal in November 2017. In June last year, Myanmar also entered into a tripartite deal with the UN Refugee Agency and the UNDP, allowing them to assess conditions in Rakhine State. The UN says conditions in Myanmar have not been conducive for sustainable, voluntary and dignified return of the Rohingyas, who have been fleeing persecution in Rakhine since the 1980s. They were denied citizenship and basic rights, including rights to movement, education and healthcare. Escalation of armed clashes between the Myanmar Army and Arakan Army, a Buddhist rebel group seeking greater autonomy in Rakhine, has further complicated the situation there.
Despite preparations from both the countries, Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar camps refused to return in November last year, arguing that the conditions were not safe and secure and that there was no guarantee for their citizenship and recognition as an ethnic group. Engagement of the international community, including the ASEAN and other interested partners, in improving the ground situation in Rakhine is necessary. As the burden shouldered on Bangladesh, the government should lead the global conclave involving super and regional powers to create pressure on Myanmar for repatriation of Rohingyas.
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