Burma to take back Rohingya refugees

Chittagong, Bangladesh: Burma repeated its decision to take back Rohingya refugees, its citizens staying both in and outside two Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh after verification of their nationality, said yesterday in Dhaka press conference.

“Burmese government has categorically informed us that they are ready to take back their citizens and they have the preparations to receive their documented and undocumented citizens, and sought lists of the Rohingyas for verification,” said Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes.

In the annual foreign secretary-level “Foreign Office Consultations” with Burmese Deputy Foreign Minister Maung Myint yesterday said sending back of refugee means voluntary repatriation as per international law.

“We don’t want to go back Burma as the situation is not favorable for us. The sectarian violence is still going on” when Kaladan Press asked a schoolteacher from refugee camp about recent Bangladesh program of repatriation.

He also said that the Rakhine racists and Burmese security forces have been killing many innocent Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State, due to sectarian violence since June 8. Many houses of Rohingyas had been burned down into ashes and many Rohingya Muslims are being arrested by security forces without giving any reason. Burmese President Thein Sein’s emergency declaration is only imposed for Rohingya Muslims, not for Rakhines. The Burmese government has no justice, how, we will go there?

We, Rohingya refugees do not want to stay in small sheds in Bangladesh anymore; we want to go Burma with the co-operation of UNHCR and International Community when the political weather is satisfactory in Burma, the schoolteacher more added.

Burma expressed gratitude to the Bangladesh government for not opening the border and not allowing Burmese citizens into Bangladesh during the recent sectarian violence in the northern Rakhine province because it would create fresh problems in bilateral relations, said foreign secretary Mijarul.

However, Mijarul admitted that the repatriation is stalled due to recent sectarian violence in Rakhine province, but it would start immediately after improvement of the situation.

Burmese Deputy FM Maung Myint repeated his government’s decision to take back the Rohingya intruders, who are staying outside the camps, and detained nationals, but it wants to confirm their citizenship through verification before taking them back.

Mijarul mentioned that around 400,000 undocumented Rohingyas are now living in Bangladesh while the number of other Burmese citizens in prisons might be over 100.

According to refugees, “We have been living in Bangladesh since over 21 years at refugee camps in bad condition without seeing our future. So, we urge international community to solve the Rohingya problem as early as possible. We want long-lasting solution soon; we do not want to stay more here.”

At the 6th “Foreign Office Consultations”, Mizarul led a nine-member delegation while Maung Myint led a six-member team, which discussed a wide range of bilateral issues and explored new areas for cooperation.

Meanwhile, Maung Myint called on Foreign Minister Dipu Moni at her office. He thanked Dhaka for the support extended to Rangoon in dealing with the recent violence in Rakhine state, said a press release.

In response, Dipu Moni assured Dhaka’s co-operation in restoring peace and harmony in the bordering State of Rakhine.

Earlier, Burmese delegations came to Bangladesh and held meeting regarding the Rohingya repatriation. They generally agreed with Bangladesh authorities to repatriate the Rohingya refugees while holding meetings.  But, in practical, the agreement was not implemented.

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