Int’l community urged to be ‘more aggressive’ to compel Myanmar to take back Rohingyas

Dhaka also made it clear to the international community that this is something Naypyidaw pledged to do, and Bangladesh is not asking for anything new from Myanmar

Bangladesh has called upon the international community to be more aggressive and to take more initiatives to compel Myanmar to take hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas sheltered in Cox’s Bazar back to their homes.

Dhaka also made it clear to the international community that this is something Naypyidaw pledged to do, and Bangladesh is not asking for anything new from Myanmar.

“We have said that we are doing what need to [regarding Rohingya crisis], and we will continue to doing so. But, those of you who are in global leadership have also a responsibility. We appealed to them to be more aggressive and take more initiatives to solve this problem, because it is not only our problem but also a problem of all,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told reporters on Thursday after briefing foreign diplomats in the wake of the failed second attempt to begin the repatriation and Myanmar’s accusation of non-cooperation from Bangladesh.

“You must take more active role so that Myanmar is compelled to take back the people it has driven away. This is something Myanmar has pledged. We are not asking for something new,” he said.

Heads of missions of different embassies, high commissions and other agencies including United Nations attended the briefing. However, there was no representation from the embassy of Myanmar.

When asked about the response of the foreign diplomats, the foreign minister said: “The international response is very good.”

Dr Momen also talked about a proposed trilateral engagement involving Bangladesh, Myanmar and China.

Referring to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s recent visit to China and her meetings with the Chinese president and the premier, and his meeting with the Chinese foreign minister, Dr Momen said all the Chinese leaders had said that the repatriation of the Rohingyas was the only solution, and that Myanmar had created the problem and Myanmar would have to solve this problem.

“China said: ‘We are with you [Bangladesh] in this regard,’” he added.

The minister went on to say: “China is saying both Bangladesh and Myanmar are their friendly countries. They said they would work with Bangladesh and Myanmar as a third party to solve this problem. Their [Chinese] ambassador has said that thing. They said, if necessary, to take them onboard so they can help solve the problem.”

To a question, he said: “The date is yet to be fixed. Now, he [the Chinese ambassador] will talk to Myanmar before coming back to us.”

About the aborted repatriation attempt, Dr Momen said he had told the diplomats that Bangladesh had done what needed to be done.

“It is the responsibility of Myanmar to convince the Rohingyas to go to Rakhine voluntarily. Rohingyas did not go as Myanmar could not fulfil their obligation. Our job was to provide logistics, which we did,” he said, adding that Myanmar had no reason to blame Bangladesh.

“The representatives of Myanmar and Chinese governments were involved with the entire process. They have seen. We are transparent with nothing to hide,” said the minister.

“Myanmar has said that they have created a conducive environment. But their people do not trust them. There is a trust deficit. And, Myanmar has failed to reduce the trust deficit,” he said suggesting that Myanmar should take people international and national media, people from UN agencies and some Rohingya community leaders who are called “Majhis,” to show that the safety, security and mobility of the Rohingyas were ensured.

“The Rohingyas are worried as in the past they were oppressed and people were killed. They want full safety and security and full mobility. Myanmar has assured us of full safety and security and full mobility. If this is so, why don’t you show to others. What there are saying needs to be proved and they should take the lead,” said Dr Momen.

“We are ever ready to send these people back. But, it is Myanmar which has to encourage them to return and ensure safety and security. About the other demands raised by Rohingyas, Myanmar should be more accommodative,” he said.

About the next step of the government, the foreign minister said: “We will keep on making our efforts. We want to solve the Rohingya problem through negotiations and in a peaceful manner. It is taking time. But it will be solved as it was done in the past.”