Dipu Moni urges Burma to resume Rohingya repatriation

Chittagong, Bangladesh: Bangladesh foreign Minister Depu Moni urged the Burmese authorities to resume voluntary repatriation of Burmese refugees in Bangladesh on July 2 at the 20th ASEAN Regional Forum Ministerial Meeting in Brunei, according to foreign Minister official.

Bangladesh foreign Minister Depu Moni
“Bangladesh FM held meeting with Burmese Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin on the sidelines of the 20th ASEAN Regional Forum Ministerial Meeting in Brunei.”

Bangladesh has also offered to cooperate with Burma to promote socio-economic development in Burma, including in the Arakan State. Dipu Moni stressed the need for addressing the citizenship issue of the Muslim minorities in Arakan State.

The Burmese government would actively consider resuming the repatriation process of the refugee already verified last year, said the Burmese foreign Minister.

“The process could start once the housing and relocation of the Muslim minority people currently residing in makeshift camps in the Arakan State were completed.”

“Bangladesh and Myanmar would be able to resolve this outstanding issue in the spirit of good neighborly relations existing between the two countries,” according to Dipu Moni

Dhaka also proposed Naypyidaw launch a bilateral security dialogue to discuss the entire gamut of security related issues, including information about criminal networks and activities.

The Burmese foreign minister assured of further follow up on Bangladesh’s proposal to establish an institutional mechanism to enhance dialogue between the two border security forces.

Despite the unwillingness on the part of the majority of the refugees to return   home for reasons of insecurity or lack of improvement in the situation in Burma. The UNHCR along with Bangladesh government repatriated only 21,117 refugees by April 1997, according to sources.

Since then, however, repatriation have been put on hold following the failure of the Bangladesh government to clear the re-entry of 13,582 refugees out of the remaining total of 21,117. Only 7,535 got permission but those refused re-entry blocked their repatriation.

“Most of the Rohingya refugees are unwilling to go back to their own country as they do not have to be worried about their livelihood and security problems,” said a refugee leader.

In 1978, about 300,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh due to alleged persecution committed by Burmese government. Within the couple of year, most of the Rohingya refugees were repatriated to their country of residence. However, soon after, Burmese government enacted “Citizenship law1982” discarding their citizenship rights, sources said.

Consequently, Bangladesh experienced another phase of huge influx of Rohingyas in 1991-92. Of them some of the refugees are still living in refugee camps. Discrimination, torture and inhuman treatment committed by the law enforcing agencies are still going on in daily basis and new refugees are coming to Bangladesh. The situation in Arakan state is not favorable for repatriation. Burmese government must create suitable situation in Arakan, so that the refugees can go their homes. But, at present, the situation is going to bad to worse, said another refugee leader from the camp.

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