It is time that the Rohingya were allowed to return to their homeland
It is encouraging to note that China has been in constant touch with Myanmar regarding the repatriation of the Rohingya, having assured the Chinese government that it would “soon” start taking the over one million refugees currently in Bangladesh back.
While this may well indicate a light at the end of the tunnel, questions remain, not least of all being: How soon is “soon”?
According to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, steps will be taken towards repatriation once the current pandemic situation is brought under control, which is perfectly reasonable given the current scenario, but Myanmar has not acted in good faith in the past, having delayed the repatriation process multiple times unnecessarily.
There are also plans to hold tripartite meetings at different levels between Bangladesh, Myanmar, and China after Myanmar holds elections this November -- another encouraging step that has the potential to finally bring this crisis to a close.
We appreciate China’s role in catalyzing the process to allow the Rohingya to return to their homeland of Rakhine but, as mentioned above, concerns of course remain. The return of the Rohingya, who faced some of the most brutal acts of persecution at the hands of the Myanmar army, must be voluntary and, as such, Myanmar must open itself up to the scrutiny of the international community in order to ensure us that the Rohingya will be treated as full-fledged citizens.
It has been far too long since the Rohingya were violently displaced by the atrocities committed against them in Rakhine and it is time that they were allowed to return to their homeland. We hope that the upcoming initiatives are taken seriously and quickly, and that Myanmar keeps true to its word, so as not to delay this process any further.