Global community needs to put pressure on Myanmar to resolve the Rohingya crisis, says the envoy
Seeking sustained international pressure on Myanmar to achieve the Rohingya repatriation goal, the Japanese ambassador to Bangladesh has said the signing of an MoU between Bangladesh and the UNHCR, to begin UN engagement in Bhasan Char, will pave the way for even better cooperation and coordination on the Rohingya repatriation process.
“It’s very important that the international community puts pressure on Myanmar as part of the repatriation work. How? I think it depends on the individual country,” Ito Naoki told diplomatic correspondents at “DCAB Talk” on Thursday, emphasizing the importance of peace and stability in the region.
The flagship program was organized by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association Bangladesh (DCAB) at National Press Club in Dhaka. DCAB President Pantho Rahaman and General Secretary AKM Moinuddin also spoke at the event.
Responding to a question on how the international community can put pressure on Myanmar, Naoki said there has been pressure coming through UN resolutions which are of course one way while the other possibility is direct contact or direct representation.
“I would say Japan has been doing this by making the use of the channels that Japan has established. So, we directly communicated with the Myanmar military side,” he added.
He also said Japan might not have played a very prominent role but he thinks Japan has been playing a very important role in its own way. “Japan has been doing what it can do. We’ll continue to do that.”
The Japanese envoy further said the way the international community puts pressure on Myanmar is different from country to country.
“Sometimes concerted efforts are important, sometimes individual efforts are important but we really need to continue this sort of effort even in the very difficult situation.”
He mentioned the humanitarian issue is a very important part when they endeavour to realize free and open Indo-Pacific that consists of three pillars including promotion and establishment of rule of law, freedom of navigation and free trade; pursuit of economic prosperity.
If the Rohingya situation becomes unstable, the goal of peace and stability will not be achieved and that is why Japan has been trying very hard to address the Rohingya issue, he added.
“If we can establish better cooperation and coordination between Bangladesh and the international community, we may get better approaches to deal with the situation.”
The envoy then said before the election in Myanmar, Japan had raised the issue of Rohingya repatriation at a very high level. “But every country finds it very difficult after the coup to raise this issue with the military side.”
He reiterated that Japan will seize the opportunity to find a long-term and lasting solution to the Rohingya crisis with the Myanmar side.
He said his country will do its best to create an enabling environment for the early repatriation of Rohingyas and will continue to raise the issue with the Myanmar side.
He also said humanitarian assistance and humanitarian crises are very much part of their vision when they talk about the stability and peace of the region.
Bangladesh is currently hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar district and Bhasan Char.
Japan’s Rohingya-related humanitarian assistance in Bangladesh amounts to $159 million, which supports the Rohingya people and host communities through international organizations and NGOs.