Dhakas turn to be vocal about Rohingya repatriation

first_imgA group of Rohingya refugee people walk in the water after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Teknaf. Photo: ReutersInternational relations experts said Bangladesh should be vocal against Myanmar in the international arena following Myanmar’s apathetic attitude over Rohingya repatriation and the recent Rohingya pushback from India and Saudi Arabia.The first phase of Rohingya repatriation, scheduled to begin November last year, was not possible due to Myanmar’s failure to ensure a safe environment for Rohingyas there. The repatriation faces another setback following recent clashes between Myanmar army and the Arakan Army in the Rakhine state.Under these circumstances, the international relations experts said this is the time for Bangladesh to be vocal about repatriation of Rohingya people to Myanmar.As Bangladesh’s relations with India and Saudi Arabia are good, the country should take up ‘silent diplomacy’ to stop further Rohingya penetration from these countries.Diplomatic sources at the Dhaka and Yangon think that Myanmar must initiate the return of the Rohingyas as this depends on a congenial atmosphere on their side.Officials of Bangladesh’s foreign ministry said the new foreign minister has also given priority to Rohingya issues, but Bangladesh should do more in this regard.Some of the foreign ministry officials said Bangladesh should change its diplomatic strategy over Rohingya repatriation.Former foreign secretary Towhid Hossain said, “We had kept silent over Rohingya crisis in the past. We didn’t even go hard against neighbouring Myanmar. It’s brought nothing good for us. Thus this is the time to make our voice louder.”Towhid Hossain thinks India remains limited to humanitarian aid to Rohingya. Rohingya penetration from India should be discussed at the highest political level rather than just in diplomatic circles.The country should tell Saudi Arabia that it stood beside the country in every crisis. This is Saudi’s turn to help Bangladesh out as international relations depend on mutual cooperation, he pointed out. Bangladeshi diplomats also said the Dhaka is thinking of ‘silent diplomacy’ over Rohingya infiltration from India.CR Abrar, a professor at Dhaka University’s international relations department, said, “India hasn’t voiced a single word over Rohingyas’ infiltration to Bangladesh territory. As Rohingyas are not nationals of Bangladesh, this is not a proper attitude of a good neighbour.”The government should also be vocal about Rohingya pushback from Saudi Arabia.The government should tell the Saudi authorities that relations should not be one-sided as it invariably displays blind support to the kingdom on every international issue.Meanwhile, United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, visited Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh and met foreign minister AK Abdul Momen.Yanghee Lee, who is assigned to submit a report over state Rohingya people in Bangladesh, is facing a travel ban in Myanmar since 2017.After a meeting with the UN rapporteur, foreign minister Abdul Momen said, “We want to improve relations with them [Myanmar]. We’ve taken them [Rohingyas] in as a humanitarian cause.””It’s not the responsibility of Bangladesh alone to send them back and resolve their problems. But it’s a responsibility of all people and all the countries in the world,” said minister Momen.31 Rohingyas in no man’s landAs Bangladesh denied entry to 31 Rohingya trying to enter from India, they have been staying in no man’s land on the border along Brahmanbaria district for the last four days.The Border Security Force (BSF) of India is trying to pushback the Rohingyas into Bangladesh.Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) 25 battalion’s commander Golam Kabir told Prothom Alo that the Rohingya have health and refugee cards of Jammu Kashmir state of India.He said they informed the BSF authorities about the matter in a flag meeting, but BSF denied Indian citizenship of the refugees.*This piece originally published in Prothom Alo print edition has been rewritten in English by Toriqul Islamlast_img

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