• Wednesday, Feb 19, 2020
  • Last Update : 05:14 pm

Rohingya repatriation: Myanmar violating bilateral arrangements for over 2 yrs

  • Published at 11:08 pm January 26th, 2020
Rohingya_Syed-Zakir-Hossain-(151)
Some 740,000 Rohingyas fled over the border to escape a bloody military crackdown in Rakhine state of Myanmar in 2017 that is thought to have killed thousands Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Dhaka pondering consequence on repatriation after ICJ orders 

Myanmar has been violating bilateral instruments signed with Bangladesh for more than two years, as it did not take back hundreds of thousands of people sheltered in Cox’s Bazar back to their homes in Rakhine.

According to the deal signed on November 23, 2017 by the then Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, and a Myanmar minister attached with the office of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyitaw, the repatriation was supposed to begin within January 22, 2018, two months after inking the instrument.

It was also agreed by both the countries in mid January, 2018 that the repatriation would be completed within two years of the commencement by January, 2020.

But, despite the passage of more than two years, Myanmar did not take back a single person. Even Naypyitaw did not make any move to take back several thousands of Rohingyas cleared by its authorities.

Meanwhile, Dhaka is pondering possible consequences on the repatriation process against the background of the ruling from the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal United Nations judicial organ, in relation to provisional measures in the genocide case filed against it by the Gambia

The instruments state that Myanmar is responsible for creating a favourable condition for the safe, secure, and dignified return of the persecuted Rohingya, who had to flee their homes owing to unprecedented atrocities orchestrated by their security forces, local Buddhist mobs and people belonging to different ethnic groups in Rakhine.

The bilateral instruments deal with only about 740,000 Rohingya, who arrived after August 25 and about 80,000, who had crossed into Bangladesh on October 26 due to brutal military crackdown. Another estimated 2.5 to 3 million Rohingya living in Bangladesh for decades, are not covered by these arrangements.

Since November 23, 2017, many development, including two failed attempts to begin the repatriation, have taken place, but nothing could sway Myanmar from ignoring the deals it signed with Bangladesh.

Despite making repeated pledges at so many bilateral meetings and before international forums, Myanmar literally did not take any visible or concrete step that can make the Rohingya in Bangladesh believe that they can safely return home. On the contrary, reports suggest that Rohingya, who are still in Rakhine, are facing many problems owing to the actions of the authorities.

Bangladesh is now waiting to see how Myanmar, who has always been uninterested in repatriation, reacts to the ICJ orders, said officials concerned.

Ideally, it should not be a problem in advancing with the repatriation process as the two issues are different, they said.