• Friday, Oct 29, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:30 am

Rohingya witness protection: Myanmar’s ICOE dodges Bangladesh enquires

  • Published at 12:40 am August 19th, 2019
Nearly a million Rohingyas crossed over to Bangladesh after insurgent attacks on Myanmar security forces in August 2017 triggered a sweeping military crackdown throughout Rakhine State in Myanmar Mahmud Hasan Opu/Dhaka Tribune

The independent commission is due to visit the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar on Monday

The Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) of Myanmar has reportedly ducked Bangladesh’s enquiries about their initiatives to ensure protection to the Rohingya witnesses.

The enquiry was made during a meeting between an ICOE delegation and officials of Bangladesh government in Dhaka on Sunday. The two parties also held several meetings throughout the day discussing the ongoing Rohingya crisis.

A Foreign Ministry official said: "We asked many questions to the Myanmar officials, but did not get any proper answers.”

Also Read- Rohingya repatriation: No definite word from govt yet

“ICOE will talk to the Rohingyas to collect testimonies and evidence on human rights violation. We wanted to know what guarantee they (ICOE) have that the Rohingyas witnesses will be safe when they return to their homeland.

"We also wanted to know how they will maintain the confidentiality of the witnesses,” said the official.

Bangladesh also requested the ICOE delegation to talk to the Myanmar government to allow other international probe bodies, including a UN Fact Finding mission, to work in Rakhine.

"During our meeting, we also asked ICOE give a copy of their report to Bangladesh," said the Foreign Ministry official.

The ICOE delegation later went to hold separate meetings with Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, and officials of the Foreign Ministry UN Wing and Rohingya Cell, and home and disaster management ministries.

Also Read- Myanmar probe team on Rohingya abuse in Dhaka

The ICOE team that arrived in Dhaka on Saturday is headed by Kenzo Oshima, the permanent representative of Japan to the UN. He is also the former UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs.

The other team members are Prof Aung Tun Thet, Prof Yoshihiro Nakanishi, Leena Ghosh, and Khin Myo Myat Soe.

The team is also scheduled to visit the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar on Monday.

The independent commission is tasked to investigate the allegations of human rights violations and related issues against the Rohingyas, with a view to ensure accountability in regards to those violations and formulate recommendations on steps to be taken to ensure peace and stability in Rakhine state, Myanmar.

Bangladesh currently hosts more than 1.1 million Rohingya in different refugee camps at Teknaf and Ukhiya in Cox’s Bazar.

Over 700,000 of them crossed over from Rakhine since August 25, 2017 fleeing brutal persecution carried out by Myanmar security forces, who were aided by local Buddhist mobs, and people from different ethnic groups.

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