Pressure on Myanmar to continue, says UK envoy
The United Kingdom has welcomed the Chinese initiative to help the safe, secure and dignified repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas back to their homes in Rakhine.
“What we see is greater Chinese engagement in the situation. What I would say...I think what we have seen a greater Chinese engagement. China has enormous influence (on Myanmar),” British high commissioner in Dhaka Robert Chatterton Dickson told a press conference at his residence yesterday.
To a couple of questions regarding China’s involvement in the repatriation, he also said, “China has a great deal of potential to bring the crisis to a close.”
“And, we have seen a greater sign of Chinese activities around the dossier. Certainly, it’s a good thing. It’s a good thing for the Chinese to be part of that,” he added.
The British envoy also said, “Chinese involvement helping the Rohingyas to return voluntarily will be a good thing, as it has the potential to help solve the problem.”
“We don’t know the Chinese plan...But, I think this is a crisis to be solved by different countries. That is very much to be welcomed,” he said, observing that in a ‘diplomatic supermarket’ every country can play a role in solving this crisis.
In reply to a question, Dickson said that all kinds of pressures, including political ones, will continue on Myanmar. But, he ruled out any NATO-style unilateral actions like in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo and setting up any safe zone for Rohingyas, saying that the conditions are not right.
There are lots of other ways to deal with the crisis and the international community is working on them, claimed the high commissioner without elaborating.
To a question in respect of accountability, he said that many countries have already imposed targetted sanctions and that ‘we are looking at the people responsible for this crisis’.
Dickson also expressed his optimism that the Rohingyas will return home and said that the Rohingya issue will be a major theme in the ongoing 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
On the role of NGOs, he said that the government has the right to know the activities of them.
Head of Bangladesh Department of International Development (DFID) Judith Herbertson, who was also present at the press conference, said that accountability and transparency of the NGOs must be ensured.
She also noted that this is not for the first time the Rohingyas came to Bangladesh and since this time a lasting solution is sought, it will take longer to repatriate the displaced people.
“There has to be a political solution to the crisis,” she added, finding the resettlement of the Rohingyas in other countries as ‘not logical’.