UN inaction over Rohingya repatriation criticised

Raheed Ejaz . Dhaka | Update:

Rohingya refugees gather near the fence in the “no man’s land” zone between Myanmar and Bangladesh border as seen from Maungdaw, Rakhine state on 24 August, 2018. Photo: AFPBangladesh has raised question over the role of the United Nations in the Rohingya repatriation process at a meeting of stakeholders on Thursday.

The international body has done little to address the problems in Myanmar, complained the foreign ministry’s national taskforce on Rohingya at the meeting. 

The meeting, held at the foreign ministry, observed that the international communities must ensure that a safe environment is created in Myanmar’s Rakhaine province before repatriating the Rohingyas there.

The UN, however, is not even being able to work there.

Moreover, the meeting maintained that the Rohingyas who earlier took shelter in India were also entering Bangladesh but the UN bodies remain silent on the issue.

Representatives of UN bodies along with government officials attended the meeting presided over by foreign secretary Md Shahidul Haque.

At least four higher officials criticised the role of UN saying that they always pointed their finger at Bangladesh whenever the issue of repatriation came to the fore.

However, the activities of UN in North Rakhaine has come to a virtual halt ince last November and no UN officials are present there at the moment, the Bangladeshi officials said.

A foreign ministry official pointed out that the UN has not said anything although several hundred Rohingya refugees entered Bangladesh over the last one and half months.       

He also said that Rohingyas are still slipping in from Myanmar.

Local officials said 468 Rohingya refugees of 111 families have taken shelter in Cox’s Bazar’s Ukhia in first ten days of this month. They all have come from India.

The UN representatives also discussed fresh violence in Myanmar. 

The UN has made a draft plan to outlay USD 921 million to the refugees and the local Bangladeshis in current fiscal year, said the Rohingya, Relief and Repatriation Commission’s (RRRC) commissioner Mohammed Abul Kalam Azad after the meeting.

The plan might be officially declared in February following scrutiny, he said.

Moreover, the development partners have promised to disburse USD 117 million more in another specialised project.

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