Myanmar agrees to take back Rohingyas from Bangladesh: Envoy

Following intense engagement and continuous global pressures, Myanmar last week entered an agreement with Bangladesh to repatriate, in phases, the Rohingyas who took refuge there.

Published: 27th March 2018 07:32 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th March 2018 07:32 PM   |  A+A-

A group of Muslim Rohingyas in Ghumdhum, Cox's Bazar weep as Bangladesh border guards (not pictured) order them to leave their makeshift camp and force them out of the country on August 28, 2017. Since 2012, more than 1,000 Rohingya have been killed, some 320,000 live in squalid camps in Myanmar and neighboring Bangladesh, and thousands have embarked on perilous sea voyages to other Southeast Asian countries, according to estimates by the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch and the United Nations. (Photo | AP)

For representational purposes (File | AP)


MUMBAI: Following intense engagement and continuous global pressures, Myanmar last week entered an agreement with Bangladesh to repatriate, in phases, the Rohingyas who took refuge there, Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed Muazzem Ali said on Tuesday.

"We need to sustain the ongoing international pressure. We believe India would continue its support in the coming days as well to maintain the momentum of the international pressure for securing the rights of these displaced people in Myanmar," he said while giving a talk on "Current trends of the Indo-Bangladesh relationship" at the Mumbai Press Club.

Ali urged the cooperation of India and Bangladesh to resolve the Rohingya issue, which he termed as "one of the world humanitarian crisis in the modern world" affecting these "citizenshipless citizens".

He said that since in August 2017, around 700,000 Rohingyas entered Bangladesh and with the existing 400,000 already present, the figure shot up to more than one million.

"We have been giving them 'temporary' shelter on humanitarian consideration, but the ultimate solution is that they have to go back to their homes in Myanmar," he stressed.

However, he said that despite the Rohingya problem, both Bangladesh and Myanmar continue to enjoy very friendly bilateral relations.

"The core problem of the issue is the refusal of Myanmar to recognize them as their citizens, although they have been living there for centuries as their citizens," Ali pointed out.

In this context, he said Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has tabled a five-point solution to resolve the crisis at the last UN General Assembly.

"We believe that continued and sustained international pressures on Myanmar would be a catalyst for a long-term solution in this regard, in order to ensure the rights of the Rohingyas, so that they can return to their homes and live there with peace and dignity," Ali said.

He added that India, as a regional power with common borders and good relations with both Bangladesh and Myanmar, "should continue to play a crucial role in persuading Myanmar for the early and secured return of Rohingyas to their homes".

India has already sent substantial relief materials for the Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMN-Rohingyas) by air and water, which is the largest humanitarian assistance given by any country to Bangladesh during the crisis.

"We count on India's continued support in the international arena for the early return of the refugees, appreciate Indian initiatives for rehabilitation projects to be taken in Myanmar for constructing prefabricated houses along with China and Japan for them," Ali said.

Owing to the intense engagement and continuous global pressures, Bangladesh concluded a 'Physical Arrangement' with Myanmar last week by which Myanmar has agreed to repatriate the Rohingyas who took refuge in Bangladesh.

On other issues, Ali announced that Bangladesh last week has graduated from the category of Least Developed Country to a Developing Country status.

The achievement was announced by the UN Committee for Development Policy on March 16, just ten days before the 47th anniversary of Bangladesh Independence Day which was celebrated on Monday.

"This significant achievement partly fulfills the dream of our Father of National, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to make Bangladesh, once ridiculed as 'a bottomless basket' into 'Sonar Bangla' (Golden Bangla). The next target is 'Vision 2041' to make Bangladesh a Developed Country," Ali said.


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