An informal trilateral meeting involving officials from Myanmar, Bangladesh, and China has led to the formation of a “tripartite joint working mechanism” to evaluate the situation on the ground for Rohingya repatriation, according to Dr AK Abdul Momen, the Bangladesh Foreign Minister.
Myanmar agreed with the Chinese proposal after some initial objections and together with Bangladesh and China will evaluate progress jointly on the ground, the Bangladesh Foreign Minister told the media after the three nations’ joint meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 23, 2019.
The first meeting of the tripartite working body is likely to be held in October, the minister said.
Despite Myanmar taking all the necessary steps to take back their nationals, Bangladesh said Myanmar has been unable to build confidence among the Rohingyas yet. “They’ll return, only when they feel that they have safety, security and free mobility after their return,” said the minister.
“The good news is that Myanmar has agreed to take their nationals back as soon as possible,” the minister added.
Two attempts at Rohingya repatriation have failed as the Rohingyas are unwilling to go back to their place of origin amid lack the required conditions in Rakhine State for their return.
Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas, most of whom entered Cox’s Bazar since August 25, 2017.
Welcoming Chinese involvement in the repatriation process, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson has said that Chinese involvement has a great deal of potential to help bring the Rohingya crisis to an end, noting that involvement of a wide range of countries can resolve the crisis.
“We’ve seen there has been greater Chinese engagement. That’s a good thing,” he said.
Robert Chatterton Dickson said the international community is working hard to ensure safe, voluntary and dignified return of Rohingyas to their place of origin in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming recently said China stands ready to “mediate and promote” Rohingya repatriation in an “active manner” to help find a solution as soon as possible.
“As a Chinese saying goes, neighbours are just like family members who stand by each other. If the two neighbours and friends are in need of help, China won’t shy away from it,” he said.
On the other hand, Rohingyas in and outside the camps are carefully watching to see whether the tripartite joint working mechanism will help the Rohingya or not.
“We need our demands to be met,” said a Rohingya refugee leader who declined to be named.