Myanmar international affairs minister Kyaw Tin recently in a letter to Bangladesh foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen stated that Mynmar is ‘committed’ to taking back the Rohingya refugees from Cox’s Bazar under the 2017 agreement signed between Naypyidaw and Dhaka.
Bangladesh is lauded for its willingness to keep its borders open and welcome hundreds of thousands of refugees with open arms. But over the last three years, displaced Rohingyas have appeared as a serious burden on the economy and environment of Bangladesh.
The situation in Cox’s Bazaar- where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees are living - has gone from bad to worse.
Myanmar needs to ensure that
Rohingyas will not be persecuted
upon their return
Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar have turned into hotbeds of crime. Reportedly, Yaba smuggling has emerged as a major work in the camps giving rise to gangs who control and traffic the illegal drugs to different destinations across the country.
It needs no emphasising that Bangladesh has always been serious about a safe Rohingya repatriation. The government integrated its diplomatic efforts to send them back and signed deals with Myanmar in 2018. However, Myanmar did not take back a single Rohingya while the attempts of repatriation failed twice due to trust deficit among the Rohingyas about their safety and security in the Rakhine state.
Needless to say, Bangladesh wants to resolve the Rohingya issue through peaceful negotiations but instead of taking back Rohingyas, Myanmar has long been trying to avoid its obligations for the repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingyas.
Bangladesh has done its best and it is high time for Myanmar to do the needful to help the Rohingyas return to the country they belong to. In order to make voluntary repatriation successful, Myanmar needs to ensure that Rohingyas will not be persecuted upon their return.