Connecting Regions of Asia.

Bangladesh To Engage Asean, 4 Nations After Myanmar Polls


The Bangladesh government would reinstall bilateral mechanisms with Myanmar after the upcoming general elections in the country with engagement of the ASEAN and four other countries to ensure sustainable repatriation of the Rohingya people to Rakhine.
‘The bilateral mechanisms on repatriation, which have been stalled due to the pandemic situation and general election in Myanmar, would be reactivated after the polling in the country,’ foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen told New Age on Thursday.
The government has also engaged with ‘friends and neighbours’ of Myanmar, including the ASEAN, India, China and South Korea, to play role as civilian confidence builders for creating a conducive environment with reconstruction of houses, extending health services and education and skill-building facilities for supporting livelihoods of the potential returnees, he said.
China, which has been engaged in a trilateral mechanism involving Bangladesh and Myanmar for facilitating repatriation, has no objection to the engagement of India, Japan and South Korea in the process, a spokesperson at the Chinese embassy in Dhaka told New Age on Thursday.
‘Starting the repatriation in an earlier date is a priority for stability in the region and the Chinese efforts are not exclusive,’ the Chinese official said, adding, ‘All efforts are welcome.’
A greater access of the UN systems in Rakhine is also desirable for an effective implementation of the initiatives for repatriation, the foreign secretary further said. 
The Myanmar government should take the responsibilities for ensuring the security of the returnees,  he added.  
Asked about the international efforts at ensuring accountability of the atrocity crimes committed on the Rohingya people, Momen said that the Bangladesh government would continue to extend support to the accountability mechanisms at the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice that would help build confidence as there is trust deficit among the potential returnees.
The government has been ‘closely observing’ the electioneering in Myanmar as the general elections in the country are set to be held on November 8, an official said, adding, ‘It is desirable that a democratic government would reactivate the stalled process of repatriation of the Rohingya people.’ 
Some 860,000 Rohingyas, mostly women, children and aged people, entered Bangladesh fleeing unbridled murder, arson and rape during ‘security operations’ by the Myanmar military in Rakhine, what the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing and genocide, beginning from August 25, 2017.
The latest Rohingya influx has taken the number of undocumented Myanmar nationals and registered refugees in Bangladesh to over 1.2 million, according to estimates by UN agencies and Bangladesh foreign ministry.
Not a single Rohingya has formally left Bangladesh for Rakhine since Bangladesh has signed at least three instruments with Myanmar two years ago on repatriation.

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