The Hindu – India welcomes starting of Rohingya repatriation process

Kallol Bhattacherjee

New Delhi – India, 01 November 2018. India on Wednesday welcomed the decision of Bangladesh to begin the process of repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar. The response from an official source came hours after Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to send 2,300 Rohingya back to Rakhine province.

“If they have agreed to take 2,300 Rohingya refugees then we will consider this as a good beginning. We have been saying that the Rohingya crisis can be solved with the repatriation of the community to the land of their origin in Rakhine province of Myanmar,” said an official source welcoming the step.

Teams of diplomats from Bangladesh and Myanmar met on Tuesday and agreed on this plan during a high level Joint Working Group meeting held in Dhaka. The meeting was attended by Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque and his Myanmar counterpart Myint Thu.

On Wednesday, both officials visited the Rohingya camps near Cox’s Bazaar to talk to the 2,300 Rohingya citizens of Myanmar who are among more than one million Rohingya refugees who have taken refuge in Bangladesh during 2017-18.

The agreement was preceded by a warning from a top UN diplomat who pointed out that Myanmar had not stopped human rights violation of the Rohingya community inside its territory.

India has been suggesting repatriation of the Rohingya refugees and has also contributed to creating housing settlements for the people who choose to return to Rakhine province.

“We believe repatriation will have to be coupled with socio-economic measures to ensure continued welfare of the Rohingya community on their land,” said the source.

Myanmar and Bangladesh had concluded an agreement last year to start return of the community who fled after the Myanmar military conducted a security campaign in the region. Repatriation of the community was to begin in January this year but it has been delayed so far.

Activists have expressed concern on the latest announcement saying that the return of the Rohingya refugees should be preceded by security guarantee from Myanmar.

Relief organisation Oxfam in a statement said, “The international community needs to step up diplomatic pressure on Myanmar to grant equal rights to the Rohingya, while continuing to support Bangladesh to assist all those in need.” Myanmar has said that it is trying to sensitise its military about ensuring safety of the community.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-welcomes-starting-of-rohingya-repatriation-process/article25384602.ece

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