Dhaka to seek Myanmar to fix date for Rohingya repatriation

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Dhaka, Nov 17: Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen on Tuesday said Dhaka will seek the newly elected Myanmar government to fix ‘a date’ for commencing Rohingya repatriation while Bangladesh’s friendly countries pledged to mount pressure on Naypyidaw in this regard.

“We will tell them (new Myanmar government) to give us a date of commencing Rohingya repatriation … we (Bangladesh) stand ready to send back them (Rohingyas),” he told reporters after a discussion on ‘Sylhet Development Authority Law’ at Foreign Service Academy in the capital.

Dr Momen said Bangladesh’s friendly countries assured Dhaka that as Myanmar election is over now, they would mount pressure on Naypyidaw afresh over Rohingya repatriation.

“Our friends like China, Japan, the European Union the United Kingdom told us that they would help us so that Myanmar takes initiative in this regard (Rohingya repatriation),” he said.

He said Bangladesh has also been engaged in a tripartite mechanism — Bangladesh-China-Myanmar– so that Myanmar takes back their Rohingyas from Bangladesh.

The foreign minister said Dhaka is waiting for the full formation of a new government in Myanmar as the Rohingya repatriation talks remain halted due to Covid-19 pandemic and elections in Myanmar.

He said Bangladesh will recognise the new Myanmar government after its full formation as well as when other countries will do the same.

Regarding Rohingya relocation to Bhashan Char island, Dr Momen said the government has decided to send 100,000 Rohingyas to Bhasan Char though the relocation date is yet to be final.

He said relocation of Rohingyas is Dhaka’s choice as these forcibly displaced people have taken shelter in Bangladesh.

The foreign minister said the Myanmar side informed Dhaka that they have published a booklet on the work that has been done in Rakhine and Rohingyas will be given those booklets to know about safety and security assurance upon return to their land of origin.

The Myanmar side gave commitment over repatriation of Rohingyas in various ways but not a single Rohingya returned to Rakhine over the last three years.

Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar district and most of them arrived there since August 25, 2017 after the military crackdown at their homeland.