Eastern Times Correspondent, Dhaka, 16 January : Bangladesh, Myanmar and China will hold a tripartite meeting on Rohingya repatriation in Dhaka on January 19, as Dhaka finds their repatriation to Myanmar as the only solution to the crisis.
“We hope it would be a fruitful meeting,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told reporters on Wednesday about the tripartite talks.
He said the meeting would be held at secretary level. The last tripartite meeting like this was held on January 20 last year.
The foreign minister said Bangladesh had handed over a list of 840,000 Rohingyas to Myanmar for verification.
“Myanmar has verified very few people. They are very slow. They verified only 42,000 people. There is (a) serious lack of seriousness,” said the foreign minister.
Dr Momen said they were doing their part of the job, but Myanmar is not responding the same way.
Responding to a question, he said he is always hopeful of beginning repatriation as Myanmar has taken back their nationals before – in 1978 and 1992.
The government earlier hinted that the repatriation talks would begin this month as there was no Rohingya repatriation and discussion in 2020, because of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the general elections in Myanmar.
Big countries find the repatriation of Rohingyas to their place of origin in Myanmar’s Rakhine State as the only solution to the crisis.
More than three years ago, Myanmar’s soldiers targeted, killed, and raped Rohingyas, an ethnic minority in Myanmar, and burned their villages, as the United Nations, Refugees International, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the US Department of State, and many others have documented.
Over 800,000 Rohingyas fled the genocidal violence and took shelter in Bangladesh, which is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas.
“Though Myanmar agreed to take back their nationals after verification, no Rohingyas returned home. There is a lack of sincerity from Myanmar’s side,” Foreign Minister Dr Momen told recently.
He said the Rohingyas don’t trust their government, and Bangladesh gave a number of proposals to build trust among them. “Myanmar didn’t say no to those proposals, but no proposal was implemented either.”
Bangladesh is trying in multiple ways – bilaterally, multilaterally, and through the judicial system – to find a lasting solution to the Rohingya crisis.
“Myanmar is a friendly country. They aren’t our enemy. We have nothing against Myanmar. Myanmar must create a conducive environment as Bangladesh wants to see safe and secure return of Rohingyas to Myanmar,” Dr Momen said.
Bangladesh proposed deployment of non-military civilian observers from Myanmar’s friendly countries – Japan, China, Russia, India and Asean countries.
“Myanmar neither said yes nor no on that particular proposal,” the foreign minister said, adding that Bangladesh also proposed visits of Rohingya leaders to Rakhine and Myanmar government officials’ visit to Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar to interact with the Rohingyas.
In the process, Dr Momen said, there should be confidence building and the main objective of Bangladesh is to see repatriation of Rohingyas. “They must return home (Myanmar).”
Responding to a question, Dr Momen said all countries agree that repatriation is the solution, and any delay in repatriation might create instability in the region and beyond.
Bangladesh and Myanmar signed the repatriation deal on November 23, 2017.On January 16, 2018, the two countries signed a document on Physical Arrangement, which was supposed to facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland.