• Monday, Jan 27, 2020
  • Last Update : 11:17 am

US for voluntary return of Rohingyas

  • Published at 02:08 pm November 2nd, 2018
File photo of Rohingya children at a refugee camp in Cox's Bazar Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

'Our goal is to ease human suffering and address the root causes of conflict, violence and abuse,' US deputy spokesperson said

The United States stated its support for the voluntary return of Rohingyas, as Myanmar and Bangladesh have decided on the repatriation of Rohingya refugees starting from mid-November.

Deputy Spokesperson at the US State Department Robert Palladino addressed reporters at a press briefing in Washington, DC, on Thursday, reports UNB.

He said: "We continue to call for accountability for those that were responsible, and we would look closely at any plans to ensure that it is in fact voluntary."

Robert Palladino said it was important that their efforts remain focused on their initiative to improve the situation of the Rohingya refugees and to hold accountable everyone who is responsible for this situation.

"Our goal here is to ease human suffering and address the root causes of conflict, violence and abuse," the deputy spokesperson said.

A total of 2,260 Rohingyas of 485 families will be repatriated in the first phase, as Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to begin their repatriation in mid-November, said a senior official here.

Permanent Secretary of Myanmar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Myint Thu said they have verified about 5,000 Rohingyas.

The Joint Working Group (JWG) members from both sides, including Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque, visited Rohingya camps on Wednesday and talked to Rohingya representatives.

However, the Rohingyas have said they will not go back to their place of origin in Rakhine state if their basic rights, including citizenship and housing facilities, were not provided.

On Tuesday, Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to start repatriating the first group of Rohingyas by mid-November.

The third foreign secretary-level JWG meeting, held at Meghna state guesthouse in Dhaka, was co-chaired by Permanent Secretary Myint Thu of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar and his Bangladeshi counterpart Senior Secretary M Shahidul Haque of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

After the meeting, Permanent Secretary Myint Thu said they had a very friendly and candid meeting and achieved “very concrete results” on the commencement of the repatriation.

"We've shown our political will, flexibility and accommodation in order to commence the repatriation at the earliest possible dates," he said.

The Myanmar official claimed they have streamlined multiple local directives in order to promote awareness about the repatriation among returnees.

"We're also promoting public policy which includes police personnel, together with the local communities, to maintain and promote law and order," he said, adding that they are also promoting awareness on fundamental principles so that people can get access to the justice system if they encounter any issues.

Bangladesh and Myanmar formed the Joint Working Group (JWG) in December 2017 to start the repatriation of Rohingya refugees by January 23, 2018.

In May, the Myanmar side urged the Bangladesh side to start the repatriation of the earlier verified 778 Muslims and 444 Hindus.