China to mediate Myanmar-Bangladesh meeting on Rohingya on Jan 19

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2021-01-13 21:18:46 BdST


Bangladesh will hold a tripartite meeting in Dhaka on Jan 19 with Myanmar and China on the Rohingya refugee crisis.

China is organising the meeting a year after a similar discussion, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said on Wednesday.

“We hope it will yield good results. We are still hopeful,” said Momen. Secretary-level officials will represent Bangladesh while Myanmar will send deputy minister-level officials.

The foreign minister said the last such meeting in January last year saw “some progress”, but Myanmar has remained silent since then.

“They had said they would make booklets in Rohingya and Myanmar’s own languages.

They had showed some interest, but no meeting took place. (They) gave COVID-19 and elections as excuses,” he said.

The meeting was supposed to be held on Jan 9 or 10, but was delayed because the Chinese foreign minister is visiting Myanmar now.

Bangladesh on Monday handed a list of 230,000 more Rohingya refugees to Myanmar for repatriation to their homeland in Rakhine State.

In six phases, including the latest one, Bangladesh has handed lists of 830,000 Rohingya to Myanmar, which has verified only 42,000 refugees, but the repatriation has not begun.

More than 700,000 Rohingya crossed the border into Bangladesh after a 2017 crackdown by the Myanmar military, taking the number of refugees in Bangladesh past 1 million.

Bangladesh later signed an agreement with Myanmar for the repatriation of its displaced nationals, but the process to send them back was halted twice as the Muslim refugees refused to return without citizenship rights in the Buddhist-majority country.

Bangladesh has alleged a lack of sincerity of Myanmar in ensuring safe, dignified and sustainable return of the refugees as violence in Rakhine has continued.

Momen said Myanmar was creating problems in the verification.

Myanmar allowed some refugees to return to a certain place while their family members were told to stay in other places, the foreign minister said.

He also said Bangladesh has begun biometric registration of the Rohingya refugees, who arrived in the country before 2017, to prevent them from achieving Bangladesh passports and ID cards.