Bangladesh on Tuesday said it keeps exploring all available avenues through bilateral and international mechanisms to send back Rohingyas safely to their place of origin in Rakhine State with an active trilateral effort with China and Myanmar in place.
“We want to work in all areas with the same pace,” Secretary (Asia and Pacific) at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Masud Bin Momen told reporters at State guesthouse Meghna after the second Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) with the Philippines.
He said it will be a very difficult proposition if the Rohingya issue is left on bilateral front only considering the past experiences.
Secretary Momen said Bangladesh, China and Myanmar are moving ahead trilaterally as China is working as a sort of guarantor to send back Rohingyas through bilateral mechanisms.
Responding to a question, he said the issue of “accountability and justice” is a matter of high moral ground as genocidal acts took place; and the international community has responsibility to address the issue.
On November 14, pre-trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court has authorised the Prosecutor to proceed with an investigation for the alleged crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction committed against the Rohingya people from Myanmar.
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said her investigation will seek to uncover the truth. “My office will now focus on ensuring the success of its independent and impartial investigation."
Meanwhile, Suu Kyi is among several top Myanmar officials named in a case filed in Argentina for crimes against Rohingya Muslims and it shows the Nobel Laureate, for the first time, has been legally targeted over the crisis.
On November 11, Gambia filed a case at the United Nations’ highest court, accusing Myanmar of “genocide” in its campaign against its Rohingya Muslim minority.
Gambia, which filed the case on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to urgently order measures “to stop Myanmar’s genocidal conduct immediately.”
Secretary Momen said they see this development on legal front as “confidence building measures” as these mechanisms will help build confidence among Rohingyas.
“If some sort justice is not ensured, these traumatized people will not get back confidence and courage to go back (to their place of origin in Rakhine),” he said.
Secretary Momen said so far they are not seeing any visible results on what Myanmar claimed to be done.
Earlier at the FOC, Bangladesh side sought Philippines’ support on the Rohingya repatriation issue.
The Bangladesh side stressed that both the Philippines and Myanmar are fellow Asean members whose core objective is to attain regional security and stability.
In fulfillment of this core Asean objective, Bangladesh side said, Myanmar needs to create a congenial environment in the Northern Rakhine State so that the forcibly displaced Rohingyas feel confident to return home.
The Filipino side was appreciative of Bangladesh for its humanitarian gesture to the displaced people from Myanmar and assured Bangladesh of conveying its concerns to their capital and the Asean process.
Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas and most of them entered Cox’s Bazar since August 25, 2017 amid military crackdown on Rohingyas in Rakhine State.
Not a single Rohingya was repatriated over the last two years 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 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.