Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has said the government will take appropriate steps in consultation with all stakeholders to deal with situations like the recently-held mass rally by Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar. “We weren’t informed beforehand about the Rohingya rally (held in Rohingya camp on Sunday),” he told reporters after attending a discussion, marking the National Mourning Day in Dhaka on Monday. He said they came to know about the rally through the media and have already talked to the Home Ministry to find ways to deal with such a situation in the future.
Dr Momen said the government did not make any objection to it as they came to know that Rohingyas gathered there for offering doa. Thousands of Rohingyas attended the rally marking the August 25 what Rohingyas described as “Genocide Day” and placed a number of demands, including their safety, citizenship and punishment of those involved in killings of Rohingyas in Rakhine State of Myanmar. “There’s a huge rally. Many demands came,” Dr Momen said, adding that they are thinking afresh how to “handle” such situation in the future. Asked whether the government will stop any movement by Rohingyas, he said they will surely take whatever steps are required.
The foreign minister said Myanmar is responsible for Rohingyas’ unwillingness to return to their place of origin. “They (Myanmar) have failed to convince Rohingyas,” he said, adding that there is still trust deficit among Rohingyas. On Sunday, the Bangladesh government urged the Myanmar government to fully concentrate on implementation of its obligations and commitments necessary for a durable solution to the Rohingya problem. “The Myanmar government should seriously consider a comprehensive engagement of the international community in the creating of an environment conducive for their return as well as in the monitoring of repatriation and reintegration process in Myanmar,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here in a press statement.
Accusing Bangladesh of non-cooperation in the repatriation effort by a party who is fully responsible for the protracted crisis is “baseless, ill-motivated and totally unacceptable”, it said. The government of Bangladesh maintains its principled position of “not preventing anyone, regardless of one’s ethnic and religious identity, who intends to return” to Myanmar anytime. Despite all the preparations, no Rohingya turned up on August 22 to avail of the “voluntary” repatriation offer given to them to go back to their place of origin in Rakhine State of Myanmar prompting the authorities to suspend the repatriation process for the day.
The first batch of Rohingyas was scheduled to return on November 15 last year but it was also halted amid the unwillingness of Rohingyas to go back for lack of a congenial environment in Rakhine. More than 730,000 Rohingya fled and took shelter in Bangladesh to escape a vicious campaign of ethnic cleansing since August 25, 2017. The two countries signed a repatriation deal on November 23, 2017, but there has been little progress. On July 29, Bangladesh handed a fresh list of 25,000 Rohingyas from around 6,000 families to Myanmar for verification before their repatriation to Rakhine State.
With the latest list, Bangladesh has so far handed the names of around 55,000 Rohingyas to the Myanmar authorities and around 8,000 of them have been verified. Myanmar only cleared 3,450 Rohingyas for beginning the repatriation. On January 16, 2018 Bangladesh and Myanmar inked a document on “Physical Arrangement”, which was supposed to facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland. The “Physical Arrangement” stipulates that the repatriation will be completed preferably within two years from the start.