Tougher task lies before Rohingya repatriation: Analysts

Tougher task lies before Rohingya repatriation: Analysts

Md Enamul Hassan     22nd December, 2017 02:50:50

Bangladesh and Myanmar have formed a joint working group (JWG) to start repatriation of Rohingya refugees to their homeland by January 23 next year.

International affairs analysts, however, think the tougher task for Rohingya repatriation lies ahead. They have expressed satisfaction with the signing of an instrument and formation of JWG, but at the same time they are skeptical about Rohingya refugees’ return to their homes.

The analysts have termed the development of ‘physical arrangement’ a major challenge for the JWG to commence repatriation of the displaced people of Myanmar. Because, the arrangement would include mechanism of verification, time schedule, transport and logistics arrangements, reception procedure, and communication for the repatriation, they explained.

While talking to the daily sun, former state minister for foreign affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury said: “This is too early to say how the whole situation will unfold, but the formation of the JWG is a positive step.” “However, given the history of Myanmar’s handling of the situation, one has to be extremely careful and monitor it very closely,” he stated.

The former state minister also said that Bangladesh should not be just confined to formation of JWG; it should involve the UN and other international bodies to see the verification process of Myanmar citizens. He continued saying that Bangladesh is very sincere and would insist as the prime minister announced in her UNGA speech for permanent, secure and dignified repatriation of Rohingya people.“But we are yet convinced that Myanmar authorities are working in good faith, although we wouldn’t like to lose hope,” he said. Citing the major challenge for commencement of repatriation is the physical arrangement, the international analyst is of the opinion that the arrangement has to be worked out very meticulously.

“I am firmly sure that there would be tremendous efforts and sincerity from the part of Bangladesh in this regard,” he stated. “However, Bangladesh has to ensure that the Myanmar authorities are also responding in time,” he maintained.

AKM Atiqur Rahman, former ambassador and secretary of the foreign ministry said: “JWG has been formed, but the major task still remained undone, that is to develop physical arrangement for repatriation of the displaced people of Myanmar.”

He also said that some tougher tasks like development of the arrangement could delay commencement of the much-sought-after repatriation. The former diplomat called upon the JWG to verify the displaced people of Myanmar based on their residential status, not on documents or anything else.

He maintained that the group has also to ensure their return to their homes, not to any other places with complete sense of safety and security. Atique also reminded that although the arrangement signed by both the countries had stipulated to commence repatriation within two months of its signing, which would expire on January 23.

“But, it can take more time,” he said. “The JWG was mandated to undertake all necessary measures to start safe and voluntary return, resettlement and reintegration process, but everything depends on the goodwill of Myanmar,” he noted.

“This is because, such kinds of efforts were also made in 1992, but those didn’t work so far for want of their goodwill,” the former ambassador said. Atique, however, lauded the mandate given to the JWG to assess the process and report to the respective governments quarterly terming it as time-befitting and pragmatic.

He also appreciated the provision that JWG would involve assistance of the UNHCR and other mandated UN agencies and interested international partners at various stages of repatriation.


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Posted in International, Media, Myanmar, Publication, Report, Rohingya

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