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US envoy: Myanmar needs to take action for Rohingya repatriation

  • Published at 06:05 pm September 3rd, 2019
Web_Miller Sylhet 2019
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller, second from right, walk with officials of local administrations on historic Keane Bridge in Sylhet on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 Courtesy

Earl R Miller reinforced to create the conditions to ensure the Rohingya repatriation in a safe, dignified manner

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller has said Myanmar needs to take action so that Rohingyas can return to their homeland. 

The US ambassador made the remark while talking to reporters after visiting the historic Keane Bridge over the Surma River in Sylhet on Tuesday.

Myanmar must create the conditions so that all the Rohingyas can return to their home in a safe, dignified manner, he said. 

The US envoy said the international community did step up pressure on Myanmar and the US is working in partnership with Bangladesh to make sure the repatriation happen as early as possible. 

On August 24, Miller said they would continue to put pressure on Myanmar to create conditions on the ground for the “voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable” return of all Rohingyas to Myanmar’s Rakhine State. 

Despite all the preparations, no Rohingya turned up to avail the “voluntary” repatriation offer given to them to go back to their homeland on August 22, which prompted the authorities to suspend the repatriation process.

Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a repatriation deal on November 23, 2017, but there has been little progress.

On July 29, Bangladesh handed a fresh list of 25,000 Rohingyas from 6,000 families to Myanmar for verification before their repatriation to Rakhine State.

With the latest list, Bangladesh has so far handed the names of around 55,000 Rohingyas to the Myanmar authorities and around 8,000 of them have been verified.

On January 16, 2018 Bangladesh and Myanmar inked a document on “Physical Arrangement,” which was supposed to facilitate the Rohingyas repatriation. 

The arrangement stipulates that the repatriation is set to be completed preferably within two years from the start.

The first batch of Rohingyas was scheduled to return on November 15, 2019 but it was halted amid the unwillingness of Rohingyas to go back for the lack of a congenial environment in Rakhine.

Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas, most of whom entered the country after August 25, 2017.