Rohingya repatriation

Published:  05:25 AM, 18 October 2020

US seeks 'unified voice' from Burma's all neighbors

The United States has sought an equal role from Myanmar's all neighbours with "broad and unified voice" so that Rohingyas can get the confidence back to return to their homeland without any fear of further deportation. "We need every single one of Myanmar's neighbors [to have that done]," said US Secretary of State Stephen E Biegun while responding to a UNB question at a roundtable discussion with a select group of journalists.

Myanmar is bordered by Bangladesh and India to its northwest, China to its northeast, Laos and Thailand to its east and southeast, and the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal to its south and southwest. He encouraged all Myanmar's neighbors to be quite clear about the expectations they all have regarding the treatment of Rohingya people and creation of a safe environment to help Rohingyas return to their homes.Biegun made it clear that this is not simply the responsibility of the government of Bangladesh, as generous as that government has been.

"This is a global priority and one that every major country in the Indo-Pacific should be speaking with equal outspokenness to the government of Myanmar to take the steps necessary to ease this crisis," he said adding that they need to find out every possible means.Biegun laid emphasis on international cooperation and collaboration staying outspoken like the US so that Myanmar makes sure Rohingyas will no longer be mistreated and they have confidence to start returning to the Rakhine State.

The Deputy Secretary of State said the US has been "quite outspoken" and used its "political influence" as much as possible to influence decisions inside Myanmar regarding the treatment and restoration of rights of these people.  He emphasised that this requires a regional and a global response. "All countries need to work together shoulder to shoulder."

Biegun said they very much agreed with the government of Bangladesh that a solution needs to be found to restore the rights and right of return of the people who are currently in camps in Cox's Bazar.  "We've to meet their immediate humanitarian needs, but we also have to redouble our efforts in the international community to reach a long-term solution," he said.

During his recent visit, the US Deputy Secretary of State discussed the challenges and ways to get a permanent solution so that the government of Bangladesh and the people of Bangladesh do not permanently have to carry the weight of this on their own shoulders.  "The United States, of course, has been a very supportive partner. We'll be raising a substantial amount of additional humanitarian assistance together as we seek to work for a more permanent solution to the resolution of that crisis," Biegun said.

Bangladesh wants the presence of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi as China proposed to hold a tripartite meeting to discuss Rohingya repatriation issues in Beijing. "It won't be done without her presence. She should be there," Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen conveyed to China.

Though Suu Kyi, the State Counsellor of Myanmar, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and she has been widely criticized for doing nothing to stop rape, murder and genocide in Rakhine by refusing to condemn the powerful military or acknowledge accounts of atrocities.The Foreign Minister said the number one objective of Bangladesh is to see the repatriation of Rohingyas to their place of origin in Rakhine State.

Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming proposed to hold a tripartite meeting among Foreign Ministers of the three countries -- Bangladesh, Myanmar and China.The Foreign Minister recently said Rohingyas will "jeopardize regional and international security" if the 1.1 million Rohingya people are left unattended and not given the opportunity to return to their homeland.

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