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TIB: UN should formally disclose Rohingya repatriation deal with Myanmar

  • Published at 07:43 pm July 9th, 2018
  • Last updated at 10:08 pm July 9th, 2018
File photo of Dr Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh Collected

The UNHCR and UNDP signed the MoU on the repatriation of Rohingyas with the Myanmar government on June 6

The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has urged the UN to disclose the details of the tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the Myanmar government and UN refugee and development agencies. 

Speaking at a press briefing on Monday, TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said: “According to the information leaked on the international media, the MoU directly denies Rohingyas the right to move freely in their own country, which is one of the prerequisites to Rohingya repatriation. Such an agreement is nothing but a conspiracy to mar any chances of repatriation, and will only serve to make them Bangladesh's permanent responsibility.”

He further said: “The questionable nature of this secret agreement has put UN's role in regards to the repatriation and, in fact, its handling of the Myanmar army’s persecution of the Rohingya people in doubt. In particular, this is reflected in the UN Special Envoy on Human Rights for Myanmar Yanghee Lee’s recent comments.”

The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) signed the MoU with Myanmar on June 6 to ensure a safe and dignified repatriation of Rohingyas to their homeland in Rakhine. 

The TIB chief also said the MoU, along with the secrecy and deliberation in its publication, stood in direct conflict with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' statement following his recent visit to the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, where he stated that Rohingyas are natives of Myanmar and deserve a favourable environment to restore them with the respect and dignity they deserve. 

“Moreover, Guterres mentioned that those who committed atrocities against the Rohingyas should be punished, which is also contradicted in the agreement. Such a self-contradictory and unsound secret agreement bring to light the failure of the UN in dealing with the repatriation of Rohingyas, and puts their sincerity in safeguarding human rights in doubt,” Iftekhar added.