Japan backs early repatriation of Rohingyas

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Dhaka, November 26: Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Naoki Ito on Tuesday reiterated Japan’s support for early repatriation of Rohingyas to their place of origin in Myanmar’s Rakhine state with conducive environment in place saying the international community needs to support the process.“Bangladesh, UN agencies and other international organisations and donor agencies are working very closely to provide humanitarian support to those displaced people,” he said.

The Japanese envoy made the remarks while addressing as the chief guest at a function jointly organised by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) and Rotary International District 3281 Bangladesh at BIISS auditorium.

Referring to Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s remarks at the recently held East Asia Summit (EAS), Ambassador Ito said the international community should continue to support the early repatriation of displaced persons, along with continuing its support to Bangladesh.

“He (Prime Minister Abe) also expressed his expectation that the Myanmar government and military authorities will take appropriate measures regarding alleged human rights violations,” said the Japanese Ambassador.

Meanwhile, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) welcomed the first hearing of a recently filed case on accountability for crimes against Rohingyas set for December 10-12.

The OIC called on the international community to support this legal effort for justice and accountability for the Rohingya people and to engage in all diplomatic and political efforts to stop Myanmar from perpetrating violence against this persecuted minority.

The General Secretariat of OIC welcomed the decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), The Hague, to conduct its first hearing, from December 10-12 in the case against the Republic of the Union of Myanmar for its brutal actions against the Rohingya Muslim minority.

The case was filed by Gambia, as Chair of the OIC Ad Hoc Ministerial Committee on Accountability for Human Rights Violations Against the Rohingya, for violations by Myanmar of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

As part of the lawsuit, the ICJ is requested to impose Provisional Measures, as a matter of extreme urgency, to protect the Rohingya against further harm by ordering Myanmar to stop all of its genocidal conduct immediately.

Genocide is a crime under international law, as well as international criminal law and all States have an obligation to prevent, to punish, and to not commit genocide, said the OIC in a statement.

The Ad Hoc Ministerial Committee was established at the 45th OIC Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh, May 5-6. 2018.

Gambia, as Chair of this Committee was tasked with submitting the case to the ICJ, following a decision by the OIC Heads of State, during the 14th Islamic Summit Conference, on May 31 in Makkah Al Mukarramah.

Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas and most of them entered Cox’s Bazar since August 25, 2017 amid military crackdown on Rohingyas in Rakhine State.

Not a single Rohingya was repatriated over the last two years due to Myanmar’s “failure” to build confidence among Rohingyas and lack of conducive environment in Rakhine State, officials here said.

Bangladesh has so far handed over names of over 1 lakh Rohingyas to the Myanmar authorities for verification and subsequently expediting their repatriation efforts but Myanmar is yet to take back its nationals from Bangladesh, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.

Former Chief of General Staff, Bangladesh Army Lt Gen (retd) Md Mainul Islam made a presentation on ‘United Nations Peacekeeping Operations’ while Dhaka University’s International Relations Department Prof Dr Imtiaz Ahmed made separate presentation on ‘Bangladesh and World peace’ at the commemorative seminar on ‘International Day of Peace 2019’ and launching of a book titled ‘Bangladesh in International Peacebuilding: Discourses from Japan and Beyond.’

BIISS Director General Maj Gen AKM Abdur Rahman, chief of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Monirul Islam, past President of Rotary Club of Ramna Air Cdre (Retd) Ishfaq Ilahi Choudhury and District Governor RID 3281 Bangladesh M Khairul Alam, among others, spoke at the event.