Mount pressure on Myanmar to resolve Rohingya crisis: FM
DHAKA, August 29, 2019 (BSS) – Seeking more aggressive role from the international community to resolve the Rohingya crisis, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen today said Myanmar still continues playing the blame game and misleading the international community with fabricated information and misrepresentation of facts.
“Instead of fulfilling its own obligation, Myanmar still continues playing the blame game and misleading the international community with fabricated information and misrepresentation of facts,” Momen said while briefing Dhaka-based diplomats and representatives of international agencies at the state guest house Padma here.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam and Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque were present at the briefing.
Momen said the non-commencement of repatriation due to unwillingness of the people concerned is fully attributable to the failure of the Myanmar government in fulfilling its obligations.
He called upon the Myanmar government to fully concentrate on the implementation of its obligations and commitments necessary for a durable solution of the problem.
“The government of Myanmar should seriously consider a comprehensive engagement of the international community in creating of an environment conducive to their return as well as in monitoring of repatriation and reintegration process in Myanmar,” said the foreign minister.
Terming Myanmar’s allegation of Bangladesh’s non-cooperation in the Rohingya repatriation effort baseless, ill-motivated and totally unacceptable, he said Myanmar often tries to give an impression that Bangladesh is not allowing or facilitating the repatriation.
“Bangladesh reassures that the government of Bangladesh maintains its principled position of not preventing anyone, regardless of ethnic and religious identity, who intends to return to Myanmar anytime,” he added.
The Bangladesh government always stands ready to extend all possible cooperation to those who volunteer to return, Momen said, adding sincerity of Bangladesh in facilitating earliest repatriation of Myanmar people has been unquestionably established through its actions.
“Thousands of both national and international media are monitoring it on a day-to-day basis. Let Myanmar also allow global media and UN agencies, as Bangladesh did, to monitor and report on Myanmar’s readiness in receiving their displaced people, Rohingya,” he said.
The foreign minister said during the recent interactions with the high-level delegation from Myanmar, led by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on July 27-28, 2019, the representatives of the displaced Myanmar residents called for international civilian monitors’ presence in northern Rakhine to guarantee security and to monitor the repatriation and reintegration process.
He said Myanmar delegation also agreed to continue dialogues with the displaced people at frequent intervals to find mutually acceptable solutions, at the earliest possible, on core issues including granting of fundamental rights and citizenship.
“Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh expressed utter dismay that Myanmar delegation was unable to report any progress concerning citizenship, rights, and security issues for their return to northern Rakhine,” he added.
Criticising the Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for hurriedly issuing a press release on August 22, 2019 accusing Bangladesh of not being able to send their people due to alleged non-compliance with the bilateral instruments, Momen said as per bilateral instruments on repatriation, the responsibility of encouraging the displaced people to opt for voluntary return lies entirely on Myanmar.
“It is Myanmar’s responsibility to create a conducive environment in Rakhine through decisive actions and to reduce trust-deficit of Rohingyas through appropriate measures including dissemination of authentic information on the ground reality,” said the Bangladesh foreign minister.
While focusing on the repatriation initiatives, he said after the abortive effort on November 15 last year, another repatriation attempt was made on August 22, 2019 with a fresh list of 3,450 Rohingya people out of 1.1 million verified by Myanmar.
He said Bangladesh agreed to facilitate the commencement of the repatriation in the backdrop of Myanmar’s repeated claim that they are prepared to receive the displaced people and the visit of a high-level delegation from Myanmar at camps in Cox’s Bazar on July 27-28, 2019 to convince the displaced people to return.
“But regrettably Myanmar failed to dispel the trust-deficit between Myanmar government and their displaced people,” he added.
In line with Bangladesh’s commitment to the principle of voluntary return, Momen said Bangladesh handed the list of 3,450 individuals so far verified by Myanmar to UNHCR through the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Dhaka on August 8 2019 to ascertain whether these people are ready to return voluntarily to northern Rakhine under the present circumstances.
Bangladesh ensured all necessary arrangements in Bangladesh side including security and logistics for voluntary return of Rohingyas to northern Rakhine and welcomed the diplomats from both Chinese and Myanmar Embassies in Dhaka to monitor the whole process and preparations at Cox’s Bazar, he said.
Out of the list of 3,450 Rohingyas handed by Bangladesh, UNHCR interviewed 339 families comprising 1,276 individuals till August 22, 2019 and in the interview process, all available information and the fact-sheets provided by the government of Myanmar were shared with the families concerned, the foreign minister said.
Moreover, adequate measures including security arrangements were ensured so that the people concerned could freely express their intent, he said, adding but unfortunately, none of the families interviewed agreed to return under the present circumstances, as they consider the security situation and overall environment in Rakhine not yet conducive for their return.
In fact, he said, the Myanmar government needs to take decisive actions with demonstrable political will to reasonably address the core concerns of Rohingyas in line with the spirit and provisions of the bilateral instruments on repatriation and the recommendations of the “Advisory Commission on Rakhine State” in order to create a conducive environment for return in northern Rakhine state.
Monen said the Myanmar government must also assume its responsibility to encourage Rohingyas to opt for voluntary return by sharing correct information with them in all possible ways.
“Unsubstantiated claims without proven evidence on the part of the government of Myanmar are not going to contribute to the commencement of repatriation,” he added.