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Myanmar delays Rohingya repatriation

Bangladesh's Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, second right, receives Myanmar's Home Minister Kyaw Swe, second left, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Friday. Kyaw Swe, on a three-day visit to Bangladesh told Bangladesh's president that Myanmar is ready to take back Rohingya Muslims who fled violence.

Bangladesh's Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, second right, receives Myanmar's Home Minister Kyaw Swe, second left, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Friday. Kyaw Swe, on a three-day visit to Bangladesh told Bangladesh's president that Myanmar is ready to take back Rohingya Muslims who fled violence.   | Photo Credit: AP

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Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque has urged Myanmar to come forward with utmost sincerity to implement agreements for the repatriation of Rohingyas

The repatriation of over six hundred thousands Myanmar nationals is likely to be further delayed as Myanmar failed to give a specific date to begin the return of Rohingyas who faced “ethnic cleansing” or “genocide” in Rakhine, according the United Nations.

Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal who held a crucial meeting with the Myanmar counterpart, Lt Gen Kyaw Swe here on Friday, handed a list 8,032 Rohingyas to begin the promised repatriation at the earliest. But various sources said that there was no immediate date for the return as Myanmar said they will have to cross check the list and take preparation for housing these people who fled Rakhine following brutal military operation.

The repatriation was scheduled to start in January, but Bangladesh delayed it, citing safety concerns for the refugees.

After the meeting, Bangladesh Home Minister said Dhaka has listed total 1.1 million Myanmar nationals who have crossed the border and are staying in Bangladesh territory . Mr. Kamal said the people on the list handed to Lt. Gen. Swe were from 1,673 families.

Bangladesh has also told the meeting that the Rohingyas are still crossing the border despite an agreement between the two countries signed and assurance to stop further influx. There are over 6,000 Rohingyas staying in the no man’s land .

Meanwhile Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque has urged Myanmar to come forward with utmost sincerity to implement agreements for the repatriation of Rohingyas . “ Myanmar must come forward with sincerity to implement different bilateral agreements with Bangladesh to end the crisis,” he said at a discussion at the Bangladesh Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, where many foreign diplomats attended .

While a clear uncertainty is visible, visiting Myanmar Home Minister assured Bangladesh President Md Abdul Hamid on Thursday that his country is ready to start the repatriation and has set up a camp in line with the arrangement agreed by the two countries last month. “The forcefully displaced Rohingya nationals of Myanmar are a major problem for Bangladesh,” President Hamid told the Myanmar Minister .

Meanwhile UN Special Envoy Yanghee Lee said that Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, heavily criticised for failing to stand up for the Rohingyas, could be held accountable for crimes against humanity. “For complicity or neglecting to do anything. I am afraid so,” she said in an interview with the UK’s Channel 4 News.

Professor Lee said that what has happened with the Rohingyas in Myanmar was a systematic targeting and persecution of people.

“One has to be legally correct to determine genocide and it has to be through a process of legal procedures. So, therefore, I can only say it bears a hallmark of genocide,” said the UN envoy.

She also said the number of deaths in Rakhine violence could be far more what has been reported. “More mass graves will be discovered sooner or later because this is something that I have received [information] myself too.”

Based on surveys at refugee camps in Bangladesh, the Medecins Sans Frontieres said that at least 6,700 people died in violence in a month from Aug 25, when insurgents attacked police camps triggering a military crackdown.

Asked on her view of Ms. Suu Kyi over the situations, Ms. Lee said, “Either she is denying or she is really far away moved.”

Over the Myanmar leader’s years of reputation of what the interviewer described as “a sort of goddess of democracy and human rights”, the UN envoy said, “She was never a goddess of human rights ... She was a politician and she is a politician.”

The UN envoy also said the Rohingyas in Bangladesh cannot be safely repatriated under the existing conditions. “I have been stating that unless the discriminatory and oppressive laws against the Rohingya population are dismantled, you are going to see the same things happen again. Even, after they return.”

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 9:56:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/myanmar-delays-rohingya-repatriation/article22777238.ece

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