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Rohingya repatriation

Dhaka may seek updates on Beijing’s efforts


Published : 19 Oct 2022 10:22 PM | Updated : 20 Oct 2022 02:41 PM

Bangladesh is likely to seek an update from the Chinese side on Thursday regarding its efforts to find ways for repatriation of the Rohingya refugees to Myanmar.

Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming is scheduled to meet Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at his office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday morning where the Rohingya issue is likely to be raised, a senior official told UNB.

Brokered by China, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed an agreement for starting repatriation of the Rohingya refugees to Myanmar under a tripartite mechanism, but the process remained stalled.

The idea of a tripartite mechanism among Bangladesh, China and Myanmar came four years ago in New New York to evaluate the situation on the ground and take steps for the early repatriation and there had been few meetings.     

Ambassador Jiming at a recent event indicated that they are going to formally share the “feedback” with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dhaka based on what they talked with the Myanmar side. “I am not going to disclose it right now.”

Despite assurance from Myanmar, not a single person was taken back over the last five years. Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million Rohingya in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char.

On October 13, the Chinese envoy said the key to the Rohingya issue is building confidence between the stakeholders, not the unilateral efforts from a certain country.

He said China has been working on Bangladesh and Myanmar to help to resolve the Rohingya issue through talks because both Bangladesh and Myanmar are China's friendly neighbors.

The envoy said though the present domestic condition of Myanmar is still facing uncertainty, the communication between the two sides is not interrupted under the “mediation of China” and actually, the incumbent authority of Myanmar is showing a positive attitude to this issue.

Thus, he said, the Chinese side hopes Bangladesh and Myanmar could work in the same direction so that the repatriation could start at an early date.

On October 17, Momen said Myanmar "should keep their promise" for the repatriation of the Rohingya to “their place of origin in Rakhine State.”

"We are ready to send them back. Myanmar should keep their promise. They should come forward and do their part of the job," he said.

Momen also criticised the countries which are doing “business as usual” with Myanmar though they talk about human rights issues. 

“These are not acceptable. If you truly value human rights, then you need to remain aware of it,” he said, referring to the trade and investment relations of the European Union and the UK with Myanmar. 

Momen said Myanmar agreed to take them back after verification and assured that they will provide safety and security for the refugees there.

“They made a commitment to create a condition for a safe and dignified return,” he said, but the saddest thing is that not a single Rohingya could return.

Noting Myanmar’s internal problems, the foreign minister said where there is a will, there is a way despite those problems.

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