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Dhaka seeks clear Rohingya repatriation roadmap from Yangon
Displaced Rohingya people at a makeshift camp in Kutupalong, Cox’s Bazar.

Dhaka seeks clear Rohingya repatriation roadmap from Yangon

Dhaka, May 7 (UNB) – Bangladesh has asked Myanmar to come up with a ‘clear roadmap’ for the repatriation of Rohingyas living in Cox’s Bazar and identify all the issues that are hindering and obstructing the repatriation process.

“We’ve also asked Myanmar to find out ways and means to remove the obstacles,” a senior official told UNB.

Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.2 million Rohingyas with more than 700,000 fleeing to Bangladesh from Rakhine state since August 25, 2017.

Bangladesh and Myanmar signed ‘Arrangements on Return of Displaced Persons from Rakhine State’ on November 23, 2017. No Rohingya has so far been repatriated as the current crisis steps into almost two years.

Nearly all have been denied citizenship since 1982, effectively rendering them stateless, and they are also denied freedom of movement and other basic rights.

Foreign Ministry officials said Bangladesh insisted on adopting a ‘rights-based approach’ so that their freedoms are ensured with free movement without fear, and freedom of choice.

Bangladesh is also seeking “full and faithful” implementation of the recommendations of the Kofi Annan Advisory Commission on the Rakhine State by the Myanmar government, said another official.  

He said Bangladesh has asked Myanmar to dismantle the existing IDP (internally-displaced persons) camps and take back the several thousand Rohingyas stuck in limbo in the Zero Line of the Bangladesh- Myanmar border.

At the recently held fourth meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on the repatriation of displaced Myanmar residents from Bangladesh to Myanmar,  the Myanmar side demonstrated a ‘positive outlook’ and agreed to initiate follow-up measures for expediting the process of repatriation of the Rohingyas, said a diplomatic source.

There was clearly an understanding that ‘verifiable measures’ have to be taken so that the repatriation process is completed within a time-bound framework as agreed under the arrangements for the return of Rohingyas.

Myanmar has responded positively to Bangladesh’s proposal to deepen and expand further the involvement of ASEAN as a group so that the repatriation process is expedited, another official said.

Bangladesh wants Myanmar to allow a greater engagement of the international community, including ASEAN and interested partners, in improving the situation on the ground in Rakhine.

Bangladesh also proposed appropriate mechanisms for the coordination of actions among those actors to create a greater confidence, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Some 73 percent of the surveyed Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar Rohingya camps do not believe that the repatriation will happen in two years’ time, according to Xchange, a research institution.

Besides, 69 percent of them do not believe that Myanmar will recognise and accept them as its citizens in the next two-year timeframe. The institution conducted a three-week survey between March and April on 1,277 Rohingyas.

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