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Myanmar probe team on Rohingya abuse in Dhaka

  • Published at 12:51 am August 18th, 2019
web-makeshift rohingya camp in cox’s Bazar
This photo taken recently shows a makeshift rohingya camp in cox’s Bazar Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The probe team led by former Japanese ambassador Kenzo Oshima arrived in Dhaka on Saturday

A delegation of Myanmar’s Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) has arrived in Dhaka to investigate allegations of human rights violations against the Rohingyas.

The probe team led by former Japanese ambassador Kenzo Oshima arrived in Dhaka on Saturday. Other members of the advanced probe panel include Professor Dr Aung Tun Thet, Professor Yoshihiro Nakanishi, Leena Ghosh and Khin Myo Myat Soe.

The visit coincides with the proposed Rohingya repatriation date of Aug 22 when it is expected that the first group of refugees is likely to go back to Myanmar.

The delegation will meet with officials of the foreign ministry, other government and United Nations (UN) agencies, as well as visit the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar.

“They will start their work by holding a meeting with the foreign secretary and other foreign ministry officers,” a foreign ministry official wishing to remain anonymous told Bangla Tribune.

The visiting delegation will prepare the groundwork for the Evidence Collection and Verification Team (ECVT) which will come to Bangladesh and talk to the Rohingyas, he said and added that the ECVT delegation arrival date is yet to be fixed.

The ICOE is tasked to investigate allegations of human rights violations and related issues with a view to seek accountability and formulating recommendations on steps to be taken to ensure peace and stability in Rakhine from where over a million Rohingyas were driven out by Myanmar military.

Meanwhile, UNHCR was assigned to conduct voluntary intention verification of Rohingyas for repatriation, said another official.

“We are yet to get any feedback from the UN agency,” he added.

According to Reuters, Myanmar has agreed to the repatriation of 3,450 Rohingyas on Aug 22, while Bangladesh officials maintained that no refugee would be forcefully sent back to Myanmar.

On Jul 31, Reuters reported that Myanmar established a commission of inquiry to probe allegations of human rights abuses in conflict-torn Rakhine state, as the country faced growing calls for accountability over accusations of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims.

More than 700,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar’s western Rakhine state after a military crackdown that started in August last year in response to attacks by ARSA on security posts.

Myanmar has categorically rejected accusations of ethnic cleansing and dismissed most accounts of atrocities, blaming Rohingya “terrorists”.

Myanmar has termed the panel “part of its national initiative to address reconciliation, peace, stability and development in Rakhine.”

The commission is one of several formed in recent months to address the situation in Rakhine state, which the UN has termed a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”