Myanmar ready to take back Rohingyas

But Rohingyas place tough conditions

Diplomatic Correspondent

Myanmar has expressed on Monday that they are ready to take back Rohingyas from Bangladesh and they want to start the registration process now. According to visiting officials from Myanmar, they are interested to take back the Rohingayas as soon as possible. But the Rohingayas are saying they would not go back unless their demands are fulfilled totally. Rohingayas have placed some tough conditionalities being instigated by some vested quarters that do not want a peaceful settlement of Rohinagya issue.

Rohingayas have demanded immediate citizenship, placement in jobs and other facilities and unless their demands are fulfilled they won’t go back. According to Myanmar officials, as per the 1982 citizenship law of Myanmar, there is a process for awarding citizenship. Bangladesh foreign minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen told Bangladesh Post that Myanmar is sincere to take the Rohingayas back. Bangladesh also want Rohingaya repatriation soon with full safety and security, he added.

Dr AK Abdul Momen further said the Rohingya citizenship issue was an internal affair of Myanmar and Bangladesh would not like to be taken hostage on the matter. “Our focus is on their (Rohingyas) dignified and safe return. We don’t have any issue regarding their citizenship there,” he said while interacting with a group of newsmen at his office at the foreign ministry here.

Momen said Myanmar has expressed its plan for the first time to provide the Rohingyas with “part to citizenship” or “natural citizenship” and it’s a “breakthrough.” The foreign minister said he observed positive sign from the visiting Myanmar delegation. “It’s a good sign. What they are offering is part citizenship and it’s a good deal,” he added.

Momen said the Rohingyas should go back to their motherland to realize their rights and “they (Rohingyas) should understand, it’s not possible to realize their all demands (citizenship) unless they go back (to Rakhine)”. Myanmar Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Myint Thu on Monday said, “We are ready to welcome or receive them. We are trying to convince the Rohingyas to go back to Myanmar.”

He mentioned, “It is totally their decision. We have provided them with information. We have heard their voices and concerns.” Myanmar delegates directly talked to the Rohingya representatives during their visit to camps in a cordial environment. Myanmar Foreign Secretary Myint made these remarks while speaking with the media after a marathon meeting with Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Kamrul Ahsan at State Guesthouse Meghna in Dhaka.

Kamrul Ahsan said Bangladesh handed over a total of new list of 25,000 Rohingyas from almost 6,000 families to Myanmar for verification before their repatriation to their place of origin in Rakhine State. Bangladesh has so far handed over the names of about 55,000 Rohingyas and about 8,000 of them have been verified, he said.

Myanmar needs to build trust among Rohingyas, a major issue, and need to continue such visit to solve these issues, he said adding that, they (Myanmar) need to come more to create confidence among them (Rohingyas). Ahsan said Rohingyas will not go back to their home until the trust is rebuilt. He said we do not force Rohingyas, if they go it will be their decision. However, Bangladesh is currently hosting around 1.1 million Rohingyas, of which seven lakh have arrived following a brutal military operation in Rakhine province of Myanmar in late August in 2017.

On January 16, 2018 Bangladesh and Myanmar inked a document on “Physical Arrangement”, which was supposed to facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland. The “Physical Arrangement” stipulates that the repatriation will be completed preferably within two years from the start. Myanmar and Bangladesh signed a repatriation deal in November 2017 and agreed that the first batch of 2251 refugees from northern Rakhine State would return to Myanmar on November 15, but the refugees refused to return over fears for their safety after returning.