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Repatriation: Bangladesh seeks sustained pressure on Myanmar

  • Published at 09:40 pm November 13th, 2018
More than 700,000 Rohingyas entered Bangladesh fleeing the violence which erupted in Myanmar on August 25, 2017 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Bangladesh seeks sustained international pressure on Myanmar for safe return of Rohingyas when the repatriation process begins on Thursday

Bangladesh has reiterated its call for the international community to maintain the pressure on Myanmar to guarantee the safe and dignified return of the Rohingya refugees when the repatriation process begins on Thursday.

The Bangladesh high commissioner to India, Syed Muazzem Ali, made the call on Tuesday while briefing over 60 diplomats representing their New Delhi-based missions concurrently accredited to Bangladesh, reports UNB.

"A continued and sustained international pressure on Myanmar will be catalyst for a long-term solution to one of the worst humanitarian crisis created by Myanmar, forcing Bangladesh to bear its brunt," the commissioner said.

The hour-long briefing session was held to update the diplomats about the latest development on the Rohingya crisis.

It also provided an opportunity to pool support for a resolution tabled by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and European Union (EU) at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), titled "Human Right Situation in Myanmar”. 

The high commission said 99 countries have already co-sponsored the draft resolution, which will be considered by the Third Committee of the UNGA on Thursday, when the first repatriations are also expected. 

Last year, a resolution on the "Situation of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar" was overwhelmingly adopted at the Third Committee with 135 countries voting in favour, 10 against and 26 abstaining.

Referring to the influx of over 700,000 Rohingyas since August 2017, High Commissioner Muazzem said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina let the persecuted Rohingya men, women and children enter Bangladesh on humanitarian grounds. 

“It was now time for the refugees to return to their homes under a continued and sustainable repatriation program,” he said, adding that a permanent solution to the crisis depended on the implementation of the three-point solution proposed by Hasina at the last UNGA session.

The essence of the three-point was: Myanmar must end discriminatory laws, policies and practices against minority group, it must create a conducive environment through building trust and protection of rights, and it must end atrocious crimes against the Rohingyas. 

The high commissioner said that Rohingya refugees were expected to leave for Myanmar on Thursday under a “voluntary and verified repatriation process” in line with a bilateral agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar.

The process will be supervised by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 

“It is a token repatriation and it will be a test case for Myanmar," Muazzem said.

More than 700,000 Rohingyas crossed into Bangladesh from Rakhine since August 25 last year, when Myanmar launched a brutal military crackdown which has been denounced by the UN as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

Bangladesh, which had been sheltering another 400,000 Rohingyas prior to the fresh exodus, demanded mounting UN and global pressures on Myanmar for the safe and dignified return and security of the refugees once they return home.