Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali would visit Myanmar soon to see the situation in Rakhine before the start of repatriation of hundreds of thousands of forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals from Bangladesh.
“The minister will go soon to Myanmar to see himself the progress of the repatriation process including housing facilities, movement as well as livelihood,” Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque told reporters yesterday.
Responding to queries after inauguration of a workshop on Maritime Counter-Terrorism at a city hotel in the morning, he said the process of early repatriation of these forcibly displaced people could start expeditiously if an environment conducive to return and resettlement in Rakhine is created.
“I think the repatriation will begin soon as verification of a good number of people has already been completed,” the foreign secretary said, adding, “Though the process of return of the Rohingya refugees is complex, Bangladesh is carrying forward it very fast.”
However, he regretted that the other side (Myanmar) has not been completing the process fast enough.
Diplomatic sources in Dhaka said the foreign minister's initiative to visit Rakhine apparently follows a meeting between Foreign Minister Ali and Myanmar's Union Minister for the State Counsellor's Office Kyaw Tint Swe with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on June 29.
The Chinese foreign minister in an apparent move to negotiate the Rohingya repatriation invited both the Bangladesh and Myanmar ministers to visit China on June 28-30 and arranged an “informal meeting” when both the sides exchanged views and shared ideas on early repatriation of the Rohingyas to Myanmar.
Bangladesh sought China's active support in expediting the process of early repatriation of over 700,000 forcibly displaced people by encouraging Myanmar in creating a conducive atmosphere in Rakhine.
The Chinese foreign minister during his meeting with Ali expressed China's commitment to fully supporting the early repatriation and improving the resettlement environment by helping build houses and create economic opportunities for the Rohingyas.
According to UN agencies and international rights bodies, the Myanmar authorities have not yet created an environment conducive to safe return.
UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee on Monday said the Myanmar government's failure to redress discriminatory laws against the Rohingyas made it impossible for hundreds of thousands of refugees to return home anytime soon.
“As it is now clear that the Government of Myanmar has made no progress or shown any real will to dismantle the system of discrimination in the country's laws, policies and practices, and to make northern Rakhine State safe, the Rohingya refugees will not be returning to Myanmar in the near future,” she said after her 10-day visit to Dhaka and Cox's Bazar on July 8.