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Rohingya Repatriation: ‘Do the right thing’, Bangladesh writes to Myanmar

  • Published at 12:15 am December 3rd, 2018
File photo: Hundreds of Rohingya refugees shout slogans as they protest against their repatriation at the Unchiprang camp in Teknaf, Bangladesh November 15, 2018 Reuters

This is the first communication after the repatriation attempt failed on Nov 15

Following the November 15 failed attempt to begin the Rohingya repatriation process, Bangladesh has communicated with Myanmar to reiterate the concerns of the refugees. 

Dhaka asked Naypyidaw to address the concerns that refugees have to facilitate the safe, voluntary and dignified return of the persecuted people from Rakhine, diplomats in both Dhaka and Yangon told Dhaka Tribune on Sunday.

A note verbale (government to government diplomatic communication), containing the issues to be addressed has recently been sent to the Myanmar government; they said requesting anonymity as they were not authorized to officially speak to the media.

This has been the first official communication between the two governments after the failed attempt to begin the repatriation on November 15, said the diplomats.

“Yes, after the failed attempt, we have sent a note verbale to the Myanmar authorities to address the issues that were raised by the Rohingyas,” a senior diplomat at the embassy in Yangon told this correspondent over phone.

When asked about the content, he said that all the aspects concerning Rohingyas, especially verifiable safety and security in the short term, and citizenship in the long run have been mentioned in the letter.

“Let’s see what they come up with,” said the diplomat.

When contacted, Ambassador to Myanmar Manjurul Karim Khan Chowdhury said: “We are always intent on engaging with Myanmar, the international community and the Rohingyas.”

A senior Foreign Ministry official said: “We have just informed what needs to be done on the other side of the border to begin the repatriation without any problem,” 

Dhaka is waiting for the reply, the diplomats said, stressing that living up to the pledges has never been Myanmar’s strong point.

In accordance with a decision taken by the Bangladesh-Myanmar joint working group on repatriation on October 30 in Dhaka, the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas, who had to cross into Cox’s Bazar to escape the unprecedented atrocities orchestrated by the Myanmar security forces, local Buddhist mobs and people from other ethnic groups in Rakhine, was supposed to begin on November 15 with the persecuted people earlier cleared by the authorities in Naypyitaw.

But, the repatriation could not go ahead due to the reluctance of the Rohingyas, who believe that the condition in Rakhine was unfavourable for their return.

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