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Dhaka exploring all avenues for Rohingya repatriation

  • Published at 08:39 pm December 3rd, 2019
Photo shows a rohingya camp in Cox 's Bazar Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

China is working through bilateral mechanisms, Secretary Momen said

Bangladesh has said it keeps exploring all possible avenues through bilateral and international mechanisms to send back Rohingyas safely to their place of origin in Rakhine State.

“We want to work in all areas with the same pace with an active trilateral effort with China and Myanmar in place,” 

Masud Bin Momen secretary (Asia and Pacific) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs briefed reporters at State guesthouse Meghna after the second Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) with the Philippines on Tuesday.

He said it will be a very difficult proposition if the Rohingya issue is left with the bilateral front only considering past experiences, reports UNB.

Masud Bin Momen secretary (Asia and Pacific) at Ministry of Foreign Affairs adresses the second Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) at State guesthouse Meghna with the Philippines on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 | PIDSecretary Momen said Bangladesh, China and Myanmar are moving ahead trilaterally as China is working as a sort of guarantor to send Rohingyas back through bilateral mechanisms. 

Responding to a question, he said the issue of “accountability and justice” is a matter of high moral grounds as genocidal acts had taken place; and the international community has a responsibility to address the issue.

On November 14, pre-trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court had authorized the Prosecutor to proceed with an investigation for the alleged crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction committed against the Rohingya people from Myanmar.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said her investigation will seek to uncover the truth. “My office will now focus on ensuring the success of its independent and impartial investigation."

Suu Kyi is among several top Myanmar officials named in a case filed in Argentina for crimes against Rohingya Muslims and it shows the Nobel Laureate, for the first time, has been legally targeted over the crisis.

On November 11, Gambia filed a case at the United Nations’ highest court, accusing Myanmar of “genocide” in its campaign against its Rohingya Muslim minority.

Gambia, which filed the case on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to urgently order measures “to stop Myanmar’s genocidal conduct immediately.”

Secretary Momen said they see this development on the legal front as “confidence building measures” as these mechanisms will help build confidence among Rohingyas.

“If some sort of justice is not ensured, these traumatized people will not get back confidence and courage to go back (to their place of origin in Rakhine),” he said.

Secretary Momen said so far they are not seeing any visible results on what Myanmar claimed to be done.

Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas and most of them entered Cox’s Bazar from August 25, 2017 amid a military crackdown on Rohingyas in Rakhine State.

Not a single Rohingya was repatriated over the last two years due to Myanmar’s “failure” to build confidence among Rohingyas and a conducive environment in Rakhine State, officials here said.

Bangladesh has so far handed over names of over one lakh Rohingyas to Myanmar authorities for verification and subsequently expedite their repatriation efforts but Myanmar is yet to take back its nationals from Bangladesh, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dhaka.