Differences of opinion have emerged between Bangladesh and the West over resolving the prevailing Myanmar crisis. Bangladesh sees Rohingya repatriation as the major issue, while the western world wants democracy to be restored in Myanmar at first. Only after that can Rohingya repatriation and other issues be worked out, they maintain.

Diplomats in Dhaka and Geneva have old Prothom Alo that this difference of opinion over the Myanmar problem, Rohingya repatriation in particular, has been reflected at the ongoing session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Diplomatic sources say, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has submitted a resolution to the Human Rights Council, highlighting the persecution of Rohingyas and their repatriation. But a number of western countries want the state of democracy in Myanmar to be given priority in the resolution. They feel that repatriation can only be discussed when conditions conducive to their return arises. Canadian ambassador to Bangladesh Lilly Nicholls raised this issue on Monday afternoon during a meeting with foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen.

When asked about the meeting with the Canadian high commissioner, Masud Bin Momen told Prothom Alo, “Repatriation is Bangladesh’s priority. Bangladesh cannot provide shelter to the Rohingya forever. It cannot wait for a situation that is conducive for return and only then start talks on repatriation.”

He said that justice regarding the brutalities against the Rohingya and repatriation have been given priority in the ongoing 50th session of the UN Human Rights Council. He said we have to hold discussions with Myanmar to resolve the problem and the discussion will be restricted to the Rohingya issue. There is no room in these discussions for establishing democracy or any other issue. He said the hope of repatriation must be kept alive among the Rohingya sheltered in Bangladesh or else there is fear of them being derailed.

OIC resolution in Geneva

Diplomatic sources in Geneva told this correspondent that the resolution is scheduled to be adopted on Thursday. An official said that the OIC submitted the resolution after discussion with all concerned.

Regarding differences over prioritising repatriation or democracy, he said the countries of the West were placing more importance in democracy, but this was not mentioned in the resolution. He said that over the past few years, the western countries would second the resolutions regarding Rohingyas, but from last year they have not been doing so.

Last year Bangladesh did not give its approval to the resolution raised at the UN General Assembly in New York regarding Myanmar as the Rohingya issue hadn’t been duly included.