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Bangladesh demands ‘clear roadmap’ from UN on Rohingya repatriation

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2021-06-17 16:08:47 BdST


Bangladesh has demanded a clear roadmap from the United Nations on the repatriation of the forcibly-displaced Rohingya people to neighbouring Myanmar.

The South Asian nation is currently hosting over 1 million Rohingya refugees mostly in camps across the coastal district of Cox's Bazar, with the last two attempts to send them back falling flat.

Raising the matter at a bilateral meeting with Christine S Burgener, the special envoy of the UN secretary general on Myanmar, Foreign Minister Abdul Momen said, “We provided shelter to the Rohingya out of humanitarian consideration. However, the solution to the crisis lies in their safe and sustainable repatriation to Myanmar, which couldn’t be done in the last four years."

"Now the UN needs to provide us with a clear roadmap on the issue.”

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 signed an agreement with Myanmar for the repatriation of its displaced nationals, but the process to send them back was halted twice in 2019, as the Rohingya refugees refused to return.

They alleged a lack of safe, dignified and sustainable environment for them to return as violence in Rakhine has continued.

But as the continued presence of the refugees started to take a socio-economic toll on the region, the government decided to shift a large group of Rohingya to Bhasan Char, an island in Noakhali.

As of now, 18,890 Rohingya have been moved to the island.

The Rohingya refugees will have opportunities to engage in economic activities in the Bhasan Char project, said Momen, while calling on the UN to provide humanitarian aid to them.

The special envoy briefed the foreign minister on the UN's efforts to reach out to member states and all other stakeholders within and outside Myanmar to resolve the crisis in a sustainable way and facilitate a smooth repatriation process. She also expressed interest in visiting Bhasan Char.

Momen also held a virtual meeting with the Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix. He shared Bangladesh’s commitment to support and contribute to the peacekeeping operations of the UN.