Rohingyas to get better future only when they return to Myanmar: Momen
Bangladesh's Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Monday (May 29, 2023) said the Rohingyas’ better life and future can be ensured only in their own country and it is better for them to start returning to their homes in Myanmar. "For Rohingyas, better future is only possible in Myanmar, not in Bangladesh. Confidence building measures are being taken. It is better they start returning to Myanmar," he told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Momen said the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister came to Bangladesh to discuss the Rohingya, not the issues that media raised. "He (Chinese Vice Minister) was not even close that issue," said the Foreign Minister while responding to a question on Global Development Initiative (GDI) of China. Read more: Bangladesh urged to use LDC graduation as an opportunity to rethink its reliance on RMG Momen said China is facilitating the Rohingya repatriation efforts. On Sunday, Bangladesh and China reviewed the ongoing efforts for repatriation of the Rohingyas back to their homeland in Myanmar smoothly and on an expeditious basis. Foreign Minister Momen thanked the Chinese government for making "sincere efforts" for the safe and quick return of the Rohingya people from Bangladesh. Asked when the Rohingyas will start returning to Myanmar, he said he does not have any idea about any specific date. Read more: Rohingya Case: OIC Secretary General seeks support from member states Both Foreign Minister Dr Momen and Vice Foreign Minister of China Sun Weidong expressed similar views that the problem needed an urgent solution, because if left unaddressed for any longer, it could potentially evolve as a tangible threat to the regional security and stability. "There are trilateral efforts. Our priority is to see repatriation of the Rohingyas," Momen said. He said many Rohingyas are willing to return while some Rohingyas raised issues like citizenship. During his meeting with Dr Momen on Sunday, the Vice Foreign Minister of China highly lauded the remarkable socio-economic transformation of Bangladesh under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Read more: Dhaka, Beijing review Rohingya repatriation effort "The Chinese Vice Minister visited Padma Bridge. He acknowledged that Bangladesh made things possible over the last 10 years that looked impossible," Momen said. Dr Momen highly appreciated the substantial contributions made by China towards the developmental journey of Bangladesh. Responding to a question, Momen said the Chinese Vice Minister invited Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to visit China but Dhaka conveyed that the Prime Minister will be in New York at that time. Read more: Countries investing heavily in Myanmar should come forward to solve Rohingya crisis: Momen
Dhaka, Beijing review Rohingya repatriation effort
Bangladesh and China on Sunday (May 28, 2023) reviewed the ongoing efforts for repatriation of the Rohingyas to their homeland in Myanmar smoothly and on an expedited basis. Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen thanked the Chinese government for making sincere efforts for the safe and quick repatriation of the displaced population. Momen and Vice Foreign Minister of China Sun Weidon agreed that the problem needed an urgent solution, because if left unaddressed for any longer, it could potentially evolve as a tangible threat to regional security and stability. During his meeting with Momen, the vice foreign minister of China highly lauded the remarkable socio-economic transformation of Bangladesh under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Read more: Rohingya Case: OIC Secretary General seeks support from member states Momen highly appreciated the substantial contributions made by China towards the developmental journey of Bangladesh. He profusely admired the excellent bilateral relations between the two friendly countries and expressed optimism that the constructive and collaborative relations would be further strengthened in the days ahead. Momen congratulated Sun for the successful holding of the bilateral consultations on May 27 in Dhaka. Noting the deep cultural, historical and civilization links between the two countries, Foreign Minister Momen mentioned about the visit of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to China in the 1950s and the book he wrote on what he saw. Read more: Rohingyas not satisfied with the Myanmar delegation’s assurances Sharing his admiration for the magnificent Padma Multipurpose Bridge, Sun mentioned that the structure stands out as a new symbol of the friendship between Bangladesh and China and observed that the two countries could achieve miracles through greater and better synergies. Momen invited and encouraged larger flow of Chinese FDI into Bangladesh for mutual benefit of both the countries. He recalled with profound appreciation the assistance that China offered during the Covid-19 pandemic and mentioned his brief meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister in Dhaka in January this year. While discussing the facility of duty-free and quota-free access to 98% Bangladeshi products to China, he hoped that all necessary measures would be taken so that Bangladesh could get optimum benefit out of this arrangement. Read more: Joint operation to prevent crime, violence in Rohingya camps soon: Home Minister He also stressed on an expedited implementation of the projects agreed during the last visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping to Bangladesh. Sun praised Bangladesh’s energetic youth population capable of making a significant change in the society and economy. He referred to the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative of the Chinese President Xi Jinping and hoped that Bangladesh reaped the maximum benefits out of this grand scheme.
Rohingyas not satisfied with the Myanmar delegation’s assurances
The 14-member Myanmar delegation held a three-hour meeting with the Rohingyas, who fled the Buddhist-majority country amid military persecution and have taken shelter in Cox's Bazar, ahead of their possible repatriation that is being discussed. However, the Rohingyas are not satisfied with the assurances given by the delegation. The meeting was held with more than 200 Rohingyas at Jadimura Shalbagan camp in Teknaf on Thursday (May 25, 2023) afternoon. Later, the delegation returned to Myanmar by trawler via Teknaf-Myanmar transit jetty at Jaliapara municipality. Read more: Myanmar team arrives in Cox's Bazar to verify list of Rohingya for repatriation Earlier, the 14-member delegation from Myanmar arrived in a cargo trawler at Teknaf-Myanmar Transit Jetty of Teknaf Municipality Jaliapara around 10am on Thursday. The team was led by Aung Myo, Maungdaw's regional director at the Ministry of Social Affairs. After the meeting, Director General (Myanmar) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Moinul Kabir said, "Our main objective is to repatriate the Rohingyas. Because that's the only permanent solution. Various initiatives are being taken to send Rohingyas to their home countries. In continuation of this, the Myanmar team has come.” Expressing dissatisfaction with the assurance of the delegation, some of the Rohingya participants of the meeting said that they demanded Myanmar citizenship, return of their lands and freedom of movement like other communities in the country. "They're talking about taking us to camps in that country with an NBC card. But that's not how we're willing to go,” a Rohingya participant said, in return for anonymity to discuss the issue. Read more: Dhaka seeks global support in pilot Rohingya repatriation project.
Dhaka seeks global support in pilot Rohingya repatriation project
Bangladesh has urged the United Nations, ASEAN and regional countries to support the pilot repatriation project and help Rohingya returnees reintegrate in Myanmar. Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations in New York, Ambassador Muhammad Abdul Muhith, made the call while speaking at the Security Council‘s Arria-formula meeting on Myanmar. The meeting convened by the United Kingdom was held at the United Nations Headquarters on Friday (May 19, 2023). Referring to the recent dialogue between Bangladesh and Myanmar, Ambassador Muhith informed the Security Council that the two sides have decided to undertake a pilot repatriation project under which a group of verified Myanmar nationals will return to their country of origin in the first batch. Read more: China "unswervingly mediating" between Bangladesh, Myanmar to promote Rohingya repatriation: Ambassador Yao The repatriation will continue and additional Rohingyas will be repatriated in successive batches. He further informed that a group of 20 Rohingya visited Rakhine State on May 5, 2023 to see arrangements made in Myanmar for their return. Citing the pilot project as an important step in the right direction, the Permanent Representative said that Bangladesh is taking all measures to ensure the voluntary return of the Rohingyas in family units. Ambassador Muhith called upon the international community to remain vigilant so that the returnees under pilot project are not exposed to further persecution. “The presence of humanitarian and development actors in the Rakhine will act as an important confidence building measure. We also urge the regional countries to support the returnees and help them reintegrate in Myanmar society,” he added. Read more: Rohingyas not bothered about facilities, their demand centres citizenship The meeting held in the in-person format was attended by all Security Council members and a large number of member states from the ASEAN. The Security Council members discussed the current humanitarian challenges in Myanmar including in the aftermath of Cyclone Mocha. They also expressed support for the efforts of ASEAN in addressing the multifaceted challenges of Myanmar. On the Rohingya issue, the majority of the members expressed support for the safe, voluntary, sustainable and dignified return of the Rohingyas to their homeland in Myanmar, while calling upon Myanmar to improve the condition in Rakhine. Read more: UNHCR ‘not involved’ in discussions on Bangladesh-Myanmar pilot project on Rohingya repatriation
Countries investing heavily in Myanmar should come forward to solve Rohingya crisis: Momen
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen today (May 20, 2023) urged countries, who are heavily investing in Myanmar, to come forward for a sustainable solution to the Rohingya crisis for their own interests and to protect their investment. "If this problem is not resolved, you have seen many countries in the Asia Pacific and the Bay of Bengal -- their attractions have increased and made investments, enhancing trade. This investment will be hurt if there are terrorist activities," Momen told reporters after a seminar. Diplomats World, a publication that deals with cultural, legal, regional, global security, politics, and various other issues, hosted the seminar titled "Rohingya Repatriation: A Pathway to Peace, Stability and Harmony in the Bay of Bengal Region" at a Dhaka hotel. Momen said if the Rohingyas who are frustrated succumb to terrorism, major investments by some countries in the whole region would be at risk. Read more: Dhaka seeks global support in pilot Rohingya repatriation project He said peace is required in the region so that investment can sustain. "If there is a commitment, if there is a will, they can do it. It is the commitment that is lacking on the part of our global leadership. There is lip service, unfortunately," said the Foreign Minister. He, however, said he always remains hopeful and mentioned that both the US and China have engaged in senior-level focal point for resolving the Rohingya issue.
China "unswervingly mediating" between Bangladesh, Myanmar to promote Rohingya repatriation: Ambassador Yao
Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Yao Wen on Saturday (May 06, 2023) said China, as a responsible major country, has been "unswervingly mediating" between Bangladesh and Myanmar to promote the repatriation of the Rohingyas to their homeland. "A local friend once told me sincerely that many people provide lip-services, but only China is actually doing practical things to proceed with the repatriation," he said. The ambassador was delivering keynote speech at a symposium as part of the Cosmos Dialogue Ambassadors’ Lecture Series entitled "Bangladesh-China Relations: Prognosis for the Future" at hotel in Dhaka. The discussion was chaired and conducted by President, Cosmos Foundation and former foreign affairs advisor Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury. Chairman of Cosmos Foundation Enayetullah Khan delivered the welcome remarks. Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar and Bhasan Char. A 27-member delegation including 20 Rohingyas visited Myanmar’s Rakhine on Friday to see the preparation to resettle the possible returnees. They visited 15 villages and other infrastructure built for the Rohingyas. Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, also the leader of the delegation said, “We returned with 20 Rohingyas after visiting the arrangements made for them around Maungdaw town. I have seen the goodwill of the Myanmar government regarding repatriation. We want to start repatriation.” Also Read: Momen sees hope for Rohingyas' repatriation in latest Chinese initiative Responding to a question, Ambassador Yao said the Rohingya issue is a humanitarian tragedy and it should never happen again.
Rohingyas not bothered about facilities, their demand centres citizenship
A 27-member delegation including 20 Rohingyas that left for Myanmar’s Rakhine on Friday morning returned to Bangladesh on Friday (May 05, 2023) around 5.50 pm after visiting 15 villages and other infrastructure built for the Rohingyas. “We have visited the places in our village, but I still don't see any opportunity to go there before fulfilling demands. We want to see the fulfillment of our demand from here (Bangladesh) and then we will return to Myanmar,” said Sufian, a member of the delegation and a resident of Rohingya camp number 26 while speaking at a briefing after returning at Teknaf-Myanmar Transit Ghat in Cox's Bazar. "We went there and made our demands. We have demanded citizenship, we have demanded our land," Sufian added. However, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, also the leader of the 27-member delegation team that went to Rakhine State, said, “We returned today with 20 Rohingyas after visiting the arrangements made for them around Maungdaw town. I have seen the goodwill of the Myanmar government regarding repatriation. We want to start repatriation.” Read More: China "unswervingly mediating" between Bangladesh, Myanmar to promote Rohingya repatriation: Ambassador Yao "We also had Rohingya representatives with us. Basically this event is for them. They will be deported, so they have been shown it in person. Myanmar authorities have briefed, visited various places," he added. At that time, Mizanur Rahman also assured that there are a lot of Rohingya in Maungdaw city. “As far as I can tell, about 80% of the Rohingya are doing business. I have spoken to them and told them that they are not facing any problem,” he said. Mohammad Selim, a Rohingya member of the delegation and a resident of Rohingya camp number 26, said that after many years, we have had the opportunity to see our country Myanmar. Read More: Rohingyas not bothered about facilities, their demand centres citizenship “Our last word is that if we are not given security, citizenship and land, we will not go back to Myanmar,” Selim said. Additional Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (Additional Secretary) Mohammad Khalid Hossain, Assistant Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Biswajit Debnath and senior officials of various government agencies were present in the delegation. Earlier, a list of more than 800,000 Rohingyas was sent to Myanmar from the Bangladesh government. The country had identified about 1,140 people in the first phase as a pilot project to repatriate from the list. Later, Myanmar voiced objections regarding 429 individuals on the list. Read More: Rohingya delegation leaves for Rakhine to monitor repatriation arrangements On March 15, a 19-member technical team came to Cox’s Bazar’s Teknaf, and met 480 members of 177 Rohingya families and returned to Myanmar.
UNHCR ‘not involved’ in discussions on Bangladesh-Myanmar pilot project on Rohingya repatriation
UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, has said conditions in Myanmar’s Rakhine State are currently “not conducive” to the sustainable return of Rohingya refugees. “UNHCR’s position on returns of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar remains unchanged,” said the UN agency sharing its assessment. The UN agency said it is aware of the visit of a Myanmar delegation to Bangladesh to meet with a group of Rohingya refugees — on a bilateral pilot project between the two countries on possible repatriation. “UNHCR is not involved in these discussions,” it said in a statement on Bangladesh, Myanmar pilot project on Rohingya returns. The statement was shared by the UNHCR Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific on Sunday (March 19, 2023) night. Read More: OIC members must share responsibility for sustainable solution to Rohingya crisis: Momen At the same time, the UNHCR reiterated that every refugee has a right to return to their home country based on an informed choice, but that no refugee should be forced to do so. Bangladesh has consistently reaffirmed its commitment to voluntary and sustainable repatriation since the onset of the crisis, it said. In support of efforts to preserve the right to return, UNHCR considers consultation of and dialogue with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh by all parties in relation to the conditions in Myanmar’s Rakhine State as important to enable refugees to make an informed choice about return and build confidence amongst the community. “This is particularly important as many refugees have reiterated that they do hope to go home to Myanmar as soon as conditions allow,” UNHCR said. Read More: FM calls on global community to raise their voices to ensure safe return of Rohingyas Following the events of August 2017, UNHCR has also consistently encouraged Myanmar to expeditiously verify the previous residence in Myanmar of refugees in Bangladesh, as part of efforts to lift any administrative obstacles to return when the refugees decide to do so. “UNHCR therefore supports efforts that could lead to the verification of all refugees and pave the way for eventual return. This most recently included providing logistical support to members of the Myanmar delegation to cross into Bangladesh for the technical verification process,” said the UN agency. UNHCR said it will continue to work with Bangladesh and Myanmar to ensure that Rohingya refugees maintain the right to return when they choose to do so, based on a fully informed and voluntary decision. UNHCR will also support efforts to create conditions that would be conducive to the sustainable return of Rohingya refugees in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Read More: US announces $26m more in assistance for Rohingyas, host communities In Bangladesh, UNHCR will continue to support building the skills and capacities of the refugees to facilitate their eventual return and sustainable reintegration in Myanmar. The 2023 Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis in Bangladesh was recently launched and UNHCR calls upon the international community’s continued robust support for this appeal which is currently 10 percent funded.
Rohingya repatriation top priority in JRP 2023, US$ 876m sought
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam has called for robust international efforts to expedite repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh to their homeland Myanmar. With its limited resources and inadequate external support Bangladesh has to continue the humanitarian operation until the repatriation process for over one million Rohingyas is complete. In this context, the State Minister urged the international community to contribute generously to the humanitarian aid fund for them. He made the appeal while addressing the launching of Joint Response Plan (JRP) 2023 for Rohingyas in Geneva on March 7. Also Read: JRP 2023 launched: IOM in $125m appeal for Rohingyas, hosts The State Minister also requested all humanitarian partners to prioritize sectors covering the basic necessities like food, health, site management and shelter, etc. in their assistance. Recalling that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had opened the borders of Bangladesh to save the lives of Rohingyas back in 2016 and 2017 despite its serious ramification on the economy, environment, security, and socio-political stability of Bangladesh, State Minister Alam briefed the audience of Bangladesh’s numerous efforts, including development of Bhasan Char with its own resources to improve the living standards of the Rohingyas, ensure their education, and skills development opportunities. Mentioning that Bangladesh is the largest donor, spending around 1.69 billion USD last year for the massive humanitarian operations for Rohingyas, ensuring safety and security in and around camps, restoration of the environment, and mitigation of sufferings of the Rohingyas and the host community, State Minister Alam warned that the impasse over commencing return of the Rohingyas to their home country might affect the security and stability of the entire region and jeopardize development initiatives. Repatriation has been mentioned as the top priority in JRP 2023. Also Read: UNHCR, partners seek $876m for Rohingyas facing uncertainty, Bangladeshi hosts Under JRP 2023 an amount of USD 876 million has been sought and a chapter on Bhasan Char has been added. The State Minister recalled that 62.7% of the pledged amount under JRP 2022 was funded and it was quite challenging to meet the needs of the growing Rohingya population and mitigate the sufferings of the host community in Bangladesh with the received donation. He also said that the Ukraine War and other multiple crises have worsened the funding crisis for Rohingyas. The State Minister expressed concern over the disinformation or biased projection of the government’s efforts to arrange education, skill development initiatives and even improve the security situation for the Rohingyas in Bangladesh. Read More: US announces $26m more in assistance for Rohingyas, host communities He also remarked that uncertainty to commence repatriation is often being used as a domestic political tool by opposition parties in Bangladesh, projecting it as a failure of the present government. The State Minister urged all to check the ground reality prevailing in Bangladesh and talk to the government before relying on those “concocted stories”. Co-sponsored by the UNHCR and IOM, the JRP for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis was attended by ambassadors/permanent representatives of member states of the UN, representatives of NGO, INGOs, media, academician, and officials of UN bodies. Appreciating Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s generosity in allowing Rohingyas to take shelter in Bangladesh and various efforts of Bangladesh including education for forcibly displaced Rohingyas, UN High Commissioner for Refugees and Director General of the International Organization for Migration also called upon the international community to provide increased humanitarian assistance for the Rohingyas in their dire need. Read More: Rohingya crisis not forgotten: EU high representative They also acknowledged that repatriation is key to resolving the Rohingya crisis and Myanmar has to demonstrate political will to that end. The EU, US, Norway, Switzerland, Australia and some other donor countries announced their respective contributions for the Rohingyas for 2023 in the JRP event. The State Minister also met with High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk at the UN Office in Geneva and briefed him of the efforts made by the government under the dynamic leadership of Sheikh Hasina to promote and protect human rights of all. He reiterated the government’s commitment to consistent engagement with the UN human rights mechanisms. The State Minister briefed the High Commissioner about Rohingya camp situations in Cox’s Bazar and the newly built Bhasan Char shelter. Read More: BURMA Act: Military support to ethnic armed groups in Myanmar 'may undermine' Bangladesh’s security He emphasized burden sharing by the international community and its stronger commitment to their right to return and to ensuring justice and accountability for them. High Commissioner Volker Turk applauded Bangladesh’s outstanding advancements in socio-economic arena, and its engagement with UN mechanisms. He praised Bangladesh’s humanitarian leadership in sheltering Rohingyas and efforts to advance world peace.
Pilot project of Rohingya repatriation to be executed at an early date, hopes Shahriar
Bangladesh's State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam has expressed optimism that the “pilot project” of Rohingya repatriation would be executed at an early date. He thanked China for its “active role” in a trilateral initiative among Bangladesh, Myanmar and China to provide a platform for dialogue to promote the early return of the forcibly displaced Rohingyas to Myanmar. Newly appointed Ambassador of China to Bangladesh Yao Wen met the State Minister for Foreign Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday (January 22, 2023) afternoon and discussed the issues of mutual interest. Responding to a question on Rohingya repatriation, Ambassador Wen said they have a common objective with Bangladesh regarding repatriation of Rohingyas to their homeland. Also Read: Will continue to work toward resolution of Rohingya issue: Japan He recognised Bangladesh's "sacrifice" in hosting the huge number of Rohingyas and assured of playing its role for their repatriation. “We discussed the issue. You pay a lot. You suffered a lot. You sacrificed a lot. We have the common objective (repatriation),”said Ambassador Wen. Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char and not a single Rohingya has been repatriated over the last six years. The State Minister also highlighted the importance of establishing direct air connectivity and requested the Chinese Ambassador to consider Bangladesh as a suitable place for industry relocation from China, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Also Read: Over 3,500 desperate Rohingya attempted deadly sea crossings in 2022 The Chinese Ambassador showed interest to conclude a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on PPP for the growth of bilateral trade and commerce. State Minister Alam hoped that the bilateral relations between the two countries would reach new heights during the tenure of the new Ambassador. Both sides cordially exchanged views on bilateral and multilateral cooperation of mutual interests, including trade and investment, infrastructure development, connectivity and Covid situation. Congratulating the new Ambassador on the Chinese New Year’s Day, the State Minister thanked China for being the largest bilateral trade partner of Bangladesh. Read More: China will remain engaged in Bangladesh’s next stage of development journey: Momen During the meeting, he also thanked the Chinese government for its support in dealing with Covid-19 pandemic and the repatriation of Bangladeshi students from China and their subsequent return to China to continue their higher studies. He wished Ambassador Yao successful tenure in Bangladesh and assured him of full cooperation in discharge of his duties.