Bangladesh will hold a meeting with China and Myanmar on the repatriation of Rohingyas on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York next week.
“The meeting may be held on September 24 or 25,” a foreign ministry official told The Daily Star after a meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban yesterday.
The meeting comes after two failed repatriation attempts on November 15 last year and August 22 this year as Rohingyas refused to return, citing that they don’t have any guarantee of citizenship and safety in Rakhine.
Over 743,000 Rohingyas fled a military crackdown in Rakhine since August 25, 2017. China is said to have brokered a bilateral deal between Bangladesh and Myanmar on the repatriation of Rohingyas.
China earlier said it wants a bilateral solution to the Rohingya crisis and see the start of the repatriation soon. Some officials of the Chinse embassy in Dhaka were also present at the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar during the repatriation attempt on August 22.
Talking to The Daily Star, Col (retd) Faruk Khan, MP, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, said the committee discussed the progress of the diplomatic efforts by the foreign ministry.
“The ministry told us that Bangladesh will hold a trilateral meeting with China and Myanmar.”
During the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will also hold meetings with the heads of different countries, he said.
The ministry also said it was working on how the Rohingya issue could be taken to the International Court of Justice.
“We have recommended that the government should mount diplomatic pressure on Myanmar so that it takes back Rohingyas soon,” Faruk Khan said.
He said members of the parliamentary standing committee would visit ASEAN countries next month to convince their lawmakers to play a strong role in speedy repatriation of Rohingyas.
The parliamentary standing committee also recommended that the home ministry identify human traffickers and take stern legal actions against them to protect Bangladeshi migrants abroad.
“Human traffickers are operating at home and abroad. They need to be brought to book,” the committee chief said.
The meeting also recommended that the foreign ministry play its due role to ensure repatriation of undocumented Bangladeshis from various countries, Faruk Khan said.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, standing committee members Abdul Mazid Khan, Habibe Millat, Nahim Razzaque, Kazi Nabil Ahmed, Nizam Uddin Jalil, Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, and Maritime Affairs Unit Secretary Khorshed Alam were present at the meeting.