Int’l community needs to increase efforts for safe repatriation
Staff Correspondent:On August 25, 2017, more than 11 lakh Rohingyas crossed the border and took refuge in Ukhiya and Teknaf upazilas of Cox’s Bazar in the face of killing and torture by the Myanmar army. Today marks the four years of the arrival of Rohingyas. They spent these four long years in the small huts of the camp. They believe that one day all the problems will be solved and they will return home with dignity.
In the four years since the mass influx of Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh, they have not been repatriated to their home country of Myanmar. Although two-point repatriation initiatives have been taken, they have stalled for various reasons. Experts have called for “increased international diplomatic efforts” to repatriate Rohingya as per the agreement reached with Myanmar.
According to relevant sources, more than 11 lakh Rohingyas entered Bangladesh in 2017. They are currently living in 34 camps in Cox’s Bazar. There is no guarantee when they will return home. Bilateral talks on Rohingya repatriation with Myanmar have stalled for various reasons.
In 2017, Bangladesh started bilateral talks with Myanmar to send Rohingyas back to their homeland. Later, two phases of Rohingya repatriation was taken, but not a single Rohingya repatriated to Myanmar so far.
The Rohingya claim that if they do not get a “guarantee” of their citizenship, ethnic identity, land and justice for genocide, they will not go to Myanmar and do not want to face the Myanmar army’s crackdown.
Dr. Imtiaz Ahmed, Dhaka University Professor of International Relations on the issue of Rohingya repatriation, said we should talk to the international community on a “larger scale”. Even the Rohingya diaspora, the media in Bangladesh, the civil society – everyone should bring this issue to the fore and create public opinion so that repatriation can begin as soon as the pandemic ends. There is a need to put pressure on Myanmar on a large scale to give national identity to the Rohingyas in particular.
The Myanmar government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Rohingya repatriation on November 23, 2017. Attempts to repatriate failed for the first time on November 15, 2018, and for the second time on August 22, 2019.
Refugee expert Dr. Rahman Nasir Uddin said the reasons for the “failure” of the first and second phase of the repatriation process should be “highlighted” and solutions should be found. Especially after returning to Rakhine, the Rohingya must be ensured security and their homes left in Rakhine must be returned.
Experts say it is important to ensure the safe return of Rohingyas to Myanmar.
Cox’s Bazar Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Shah Rezwan Hayat said the Bangladesh government is working with the international community on Rohingya repatriation. They will have to return to their country one day. The Rohingya are ready to return to their homeland Myanmar. Now, they are waiting for the repatriation process.
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