Like Hossain, most of the Rohingyas living in camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar want to go back to their place of origin in Rakhaine state of Myanmar. Rohingyas or the rest of the world are aware of the Myanmar military’s stance on this issue for the last six decades. The situation in Myanmar further deteriorated after a military coup in February. After the coup, the issue of Rohingya repatriation takes a back seat not only in Myanmar but also in the priority list of international community. The situation in Rakhaine state has seen no improvement that can encourage Rohingya Muslims to go back. In the latest, United Nation’s high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet urged Rohingyas to keep patience on repatriation. Thus, repatriation is a matter of uncertainty for the Rohingyas themselves.

In such a backdrop, the Rohingya influx has marked five years today, on 25 August. Myanmar military launched heinous attacks on Rohingyas on this day five years ago to exterminate them completely from the map of Myanmar. In five months following the attacks, at least 700,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh to save their lives. Around 400,000 Rohingyas had already been there. In total over 1.2 million Rohingyas are now sheltered in Bangladesh.

Asked if Bangladesh frustrated over the Rohingya issue, Bangladesh’s foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen told Prothom Alo, “Frustration would not yield any result. We have to go on our effort. We are continuing discussions with Myanmar. We want to start repatriation of Rohingyas within this year, even in small scale.”

Rohingyas bank on UN

Within just three months of Rohingya influx, Bangladesh signed repatriation deal with Myanmar in November 2017. China was behind the scene of this treaty. Against the backdrop of huge international condemnation of Myanmar, China did not want any third country’s involvement in the process. The repatriation efforts were botched within stipulated time once in 2018. Another effort of Rohingya repatriation mediated by China failed in the following year.

Rohingyas sought UN’s active role during the UN high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet’s recent visit to Cox’s Bazar. A total of eight Rohingyas talked with the UN human rights boss and requested the organisation plays a role in their repatriation. They were asked why they want UN’s role since the government is working with China for the repatriation.

Those eight representatives from the Rohingyas replied, “The process of repatriation would finally be facilitated by the UNHCR. Moreover, China has always supported Myanmar and its military regime. So the UN is our last resort.”

Rohingyas won’t go back unless demands are met

After Rohingya repatriation failed for the second time in August 2019, the Rohingyas gave five conditions to go back to Myanmar. The conditions include giving citizenship of Myanmar, ensuring their safety in Rakhaine, giving back their land in Myanmar, giving compensation and trial of their persecutors in international court. Myanmar is yet to give any assurance over this demand.

As per the repatriation treaty, Myanmar is supposed to take back Rohingyas that came to Bangladesh in 2016 and 2017. Bangladesh provided Myanmar with a list of 829,000 Rohingyas. After evaluating the list, the Myanmar authorities sent back a list of 42,000 Rohingyas acknowledging they were residents of Rakhaine state. They, however, said the list is incomplete and maintained that they would take back all Rohingyas from the list. Because, some of the persons in the list are terrorists and information of some are incomplete. Question remains as to how many Rohingyas could be repatriated based on such faulty lists.

Read more from Bangladesh
Post Comment