Myanmar, Bangladesh need to restore trust first amongst Rohingyas for smooth repatriation

Displaced Rohingya people in Rakhine

Can the “pilot project” undertaken to address the Rohingya situation in Myanmar offer any kind of resolution? There is a lot of noise asking this question right now. There is no chance for the Rohingya to return home, especially after the delegation from Myanmar arrived, given what they witnessed while in Myanmar.

Through China’s intervention, the “pilot project” to repatriate the Rohingyas was essentially approved. Initiatives to repatriate Rohingyas are currently in their third phase. Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian-led administration in Myanmar reached a deal with Bangladesh’s government in November 2017. However, they referred to the Rohingyas as “Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Citizens” at the time.

China, a major ally of Myanmar, mediated the agreement. China argued at the time that dialogue between the two nations should be used as the basis for resolving the Rohingya issue rather than placing penalties on leaders in Myanmar. China desires that Myanmar’s government be supportive to its interests. For this reason, China has consistently used its veto power to block earlier UN resolutions that sought to sanction Myanmar’s military government.

By November 15, 2018, the first group of Rohingyas was due to be sent to Myanmar, but this has not happened.

Then, in August 2019, China launched a new initiative to deport the Rohingyas back. However, because the citizenship problem had not been resolved, the Rohingyas were unwilling to leave on their own.

China has now launched its third round of efforts to bring the Rohingyas home. However, representatives of the Rohingya community assert that they have never visited the village they left behind when they departed Maungdu in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in August 2017. They claimed to have seen camps set up in a row there.

This report was provided by a delegation of 27 people, 20 of them were Rohingya living in Bangladesh, who traveled to see the repatriation situation and arrived from Myanmar on May 5.

They traveled to various communities close to Maungdu. There is no village there currently. The Myanmar army has constructed a series of camps. The Rohingyas will remain in these camps under the direction of Myanmar.

The environment and circumstances in Rakhine are not right now conducive to repatriation. In their native area, which was abandoned six years ago, army barracks, police outposts, and border checks have been constructed. The Rohingyas will not consent to reside in the “model village” that is being constructed in Maungdoo for the rehabilitation of the Rohingyas. Most significantly, not a single Rohingya wants to go back to Rakhine until they can be assured of citizenship.

The situation has made it very difficult for the Rohingyas to return home. 1.25 million Rohingyas are currently registered in 33 shelter camps in Ukhia and Teknaf. The Rakhine State provided 0.8 million of these in the months after August 25, 2017. Not a single Rohingya could be returned to Myanmar during the six years of the Rohingya migration.

The Rohingyas have demanded citizenship in the event of repatriation, but the delegation has been told that citizenship will not be provided at this time. On an NVC card, they must remain in camp. Under these circumstances, it seems unlikely that Myanmar would be eager to send the Rohingya home. However, the situation has significantly improved since I was in Maungdu, Myanmar. There, it has been discovered that the majority of persons moving around freely and conducting business are Rohingyas. There seem to be ideal circumstances for repatriation.

 

In actuality, the Rohingyas anticipate being relocated to Rakhine, their ancestral home. If they don’t want to come back, will that attitude help the situation at all? The reason the Rohingya have been displaced is due to the government of Myanmar. It wants to return it to Myanmar despite pressure from China. Isn’t it true that both sides in this situation must compromise? In such circumstances, there is no such thing as absolute satisfaction. It is impossible to fix the problem in such a short period of time, even now. When it comes to beginning repatriation, the Rohingyas must in this instance make a concession. Once more, it is important to guarantee that this repatriation does not result in the deaths of Rohingya people.

The Rohingyas are becoming a burden for Bangladesh even though they were given shelter for humanitarian reasons. Additionally, less foreign help has entered the country than it did initially. While it is forbidden for the Rohingya to leave the camp, the situation cannot be controlled. When they left the camp, they attempted to travel abroad using a fake passport and bogus NID but were caught. In the camp, there were also instances of terrorist strikes leaving casualties. In essence, the Rohingyas’ protection in this nation is not evident in their way of life.Allowing them to assimilate into society is likewise impossible. We therefore desire the Rohingyas’ honorable rehabilitation. It is impossible to declare unilaterally that the Myanmar administration is not being honest in this regard. It is necessary to confirm the question of the Rohingyas’ exemption once more. Sending back 1,176 Rohingyas as a “pilot operation” can be viewed as experimental because of this. But in reality, the trust crisis is becoming a significant issue in this regard.

Because Bangladesh provided Myanmar with a list of 882 000 Rohingya for repatriation in 2018. Myanmar compiled a list of only 68,000 Rohingya and handed it back to Bangladesh after checking that list. Consequently, it is possible to doubt the Myanmar government’s sincerity. Despite the small number of Rohingyas that the Myanmar government wants to return, there is no chance to disregard their sincerity in this case from a diplomatic standpoint. Despite this, diplomatic efforts must be continued in order to gradually repatriate the remaining Rohingyas since a sizable proportion will remain in Bangladesh. Sincere efforts must be made by all parties to ensure the success of this “pilot project,” at least in its initial stages. As, the return of the Rohingya is impeded by a lack of trust in Myanmar, thus Myanmar, Bangladesh need to restore trust first amongst Rohingyas for smooth repatriation.

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