Bangladesh and Myanmar on Tuesday held “substantive discussions” on all issues related to voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation of the Rohingyas to their homeland.
At a meeting held virtually, Bangladesh stressed on the need for early commencement of repatriation to lessen the colossal burden of hosting the displaced people, expeditious verification of eligibility for return, and security, livelihood and wellbeing of the returnees.
Foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Myanmar Chan Aye led the respective sides at the fifth meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on the repatriation of the Rohingyas temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh.
Five years have passed since the Rohingyas fled home in one of the largest exoduses in recent history.
The promise of safe return remains unfulfilled, says Bangladesh, noting that not a single Rohingya has been able to return home.
Both sides agreed to work on addressing verification related problems and holding regular meetings of the JWG and technical working group for early commencement of repatriation.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh has called upon the special envoy of the UN secretary general to Myanmar to work towards an early implementation of the bilateral return arrangements for the Rohingyas
"The most durable solution to the Rohingya crisis lies in their safe, sustainable and dignified return to Myanmar," said Ambassador Rabab Fatima at the UN.
READ: UN envoy on Myanmar urged to work towards early repatriation of Rohingyas
She urged the UN to scale up its programmes in Rakhine State to support the Rohingyas on their return.
Ambassador Fatima was addressing the General Assembly on Monday following the briefing by Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, the Special Envoy of the Secretary General on Myanmar.
The Ambassador called upon the UN, especially the Security Council, to respond with urgency to the recurrent and protracted Rohingya crisis including by addressing the root causes of the crisis.
Referring to the efforts of Bangladesh in providing food, shelter, education, health care and protection to the Rohingyas, she called upon the international community to focus on creating the right conditions in Myanmar.
Actions Required Inside Myanmar
“Efforts on our side alone will not bring about any lasting solution to the problem. What are needed are actions and programmes in Myanmar, to create the conditions conducive for the return of this population, in dignity, to their homes. And that is the most desired durable solution and the aspiration of the Rohingyas themselves,” she added.
Bangladesh stressed the importance of ensuring accountability for all violations and abuses in Myanmar and called upon the Security Council to monitor compliance of the Provisional Measures issued by the International Court of Justice in the case initiated by the Gambia on behalf of the OIC.
“My government is doing everything in its power to ensure justice to the Rohingya victims. We are providing full support to the International Criminal Court (ICC), and to the Independent Investigative Mechanism on Myanmar (IIMM) in their efforts.”
Ambassador Fatima urged all countries, especially the regional countries, to provide access and cooperation to all the ongoing accountability mechanisms to ensure justice to the Rohingya Muslims; and prevent future recurrence.
The Ambassador expressed appreciation to ASEAN for its efforts to find a resolution to the crisis in Myanmar including by early and full implementation of the five-point consensus concluded between the ASEAN and the Myanmar authorities. She called upon the Special Envoy to continue her engagement with the ASEAN member states, and other countries in the region, in securing a sustained political solution to the protracted Rohingya crisis.
The Special Envoy in her briefing expressed concerns at the current situation in Myanmar, which continues to remain volatile with grave impacts on the civilians including the Rohingya Muslims.
While acknowledging the generosity of the Government of Bangladesh, she reminded the international community of its responsibility towards the Rohingyas.
She shared her future work plan in Myanmar which represents a multipronged approach involving the peace, development and humanitarian actors and engagements at both vertical and horizontal level.
Following the briefing, the member States delivered remarks, in which they expressed their full support to the efforts of the Special Envoy as well as the complementary role of the ASEAN.
The member States commended the exemplary humanitarian leadership of the Government of Bangladesh and expressed their commitment to support Bangladesh in its efforts to forge a lasting solution to the Rohingya crisis.