Some NGOs misguiding Rohingyas: Govt

Some non-government organisations are impeding the progress on the start of the repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar, the foreign ministry has said.

The parliamentary standing committee on the ministry recommended identification of those NGOs after hearing the complaint in a meeting on Thursday.

As the MPs met in Dhaka, a second attempt to send the refugees back to their homeland from camps in Cox’s Bazar stalled.

“The ministry has informed us that some NGOs are making the Rohingyas understand that they should not return to their country,” the parliamentary committee’s Chairman Muhammad Faruk Khan said.

“These NGOs are telling the Rohingyas that they should not return unless some conditions, including citizenship, are met.

“The committee has recommended identification of these NGOs through monitoring,” he said.

The Rohingyas living in Bangladesh are unwilling to return over fear of more violence that forced them into Bangladesh two years ago. The first attempt to start the repatriation failed around a year after the exodus.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said they would not force anyone to go, but added the Rohingyas’ refusal to go back to their homeland is “disappointing” and “unexpected”.

An overpopulated Bangladesh fighting poverty has described the Rohingya refugees as a burden and the international communities have agreed, demanding that Myanmar creates an environment conducive to taking its nationals back.

The Rohingyas, depending on relief materials to fulfill their basic needs in Bangladesh, have set at least four conditions for the repatriation to start – citizenship, security, compensation, and land right.

Besides the UN agencies and the government, local and foreign NGOs are working in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps that have sheltered over 1.1 million Rohingyas.
After a meeting of the cabinet committee on law enforcement on Mar 13, its head Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq said many of the NGOs working for the Rohingyas were operating with “ill motive”, citing intelligence reports.

The government had received “some allegations” against some NGOs and asked the intelligence agencies to look into the allegations, he had added.

The Parliament Secretariat in a media release said the parliamentary standing committee on the foreign ministry on Thursday recommended monitoring the activities of the NGOs at the refugee camps besides strengthening diplomatic efforts to send back the Rohingyas.

The committee asked the ministry to initiate efforts to send a delegation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar so that they can see the condition there and get encouraged to return.

“The UN has its office in Myanmar as well. They should also work there…Bangladesh isn’t a bargaining agent for Rohingya repatriation,” Faruk Khan said.

The committee also recommended sending its members to Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam to discuss the Rohingya issue besides continuing efforts to create “safe zones” for them in Myanmar.

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Besides Momen, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, MPs Nurul Islam Nahid, Golam Faruk Khandakar Prince, Md Abdul Majid Khan, Kazi Nabil Ahmed and Nizam Uddin Jalil (Jhon), and Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque, among others, attended the meeting.