Japan wants Myanmar to ensure the required environment in Rakhine State so that the Rohingyas, now temporarily sheltered in Cox’s Bazar, can return to their place of origin as soon as possible, says its Ambassador here in Bangladesh.
"It’s essential for Myanmar to create an environment conductive to the early repatriation of displaced persons," Ambassador Ito Naoki told UNB in an interview mentioning that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi the same thing during the bilateral summit meeting in October last year.
The Ambassador said it is also "indispensable" for the Myanmar government and military to promptly take appropriate measures according to the recommendations of the Independent Commission of Enquiry as Prime Minister Abe urged State Counsellor at the said summit meeting.
Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas and most of them entered Cox’s Bazar since August 2017 amid military crackdown on Rohingyas in Rakhine State.
Since the massive influx of the displaced people into Bangladesh in August 2017, the government of Japan had granted approximately US$ 99.2 million to international organisations and NGOs supporting the camps in Cox’s Bazar for the displaced people and the host communities by providing food, shelter, medical services and human-resource trainings, said the Japanese Ambassador.
Ambassador Naoki commended the government of Bangladesh for its immense contribution to this issue.
Not a single Rohingya was repatriated over the last 28 months due to Myanmar’s “failure” to build confidence among Rohingyas and lack of conducive environment in Rakhine State, officials here said.
Bangladesh has so far handed over the names of over 1 lakh Rohingyas to the Myanmar authorities for verification and subsequently expediting their repatriation efforts but Myanmar is yet to take back its nationals from Bangladesh, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.
Bangladesh says it keeps exploring all available avenues through bilateral and international mechanisms to send back Rohingyas safely to their place of origin in Rakhine with an active trilateral effort with China and Myanmar in place.
It will be a very difficult proposition if the Rohingya issue is left on bilateral front only considering the past experiences, officials in Dhaka said.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh, China and Myanmar are moving ahead trilaterally as China is working as a "sort of guarantor" to send back Rohingyas through bilateral mechanisms.
On May 29 last year, Prime Minister Abe held a 50-minute meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina in Japan, and discussed ways to find a "durable and early solution" to the Rohingya crisis.
Attempts to send back the Rohingyas to their place of origin failed twice.
Despite all the preparations, no Rohingya turned up on August 22 last year to accept the "voluntary" repatriation offer, prompting authorities to suspend the process for the day.
The first batch of Rohingyas was scheduled to return on November 15, 2018 but it was also halted amid the unwillingness of Rohingyas to go back for the lack of a congenial atmosphere in Rakhine.
Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a repatriation deal on November 23, 2017.
On January 16, 2018, Bangladesh and Myanmar inked a document on "Physical Arrangement", which was supposed to facilitate the repatriation.
It stipulates that the repatriation will be completed preferably within two years from the start.