BNP claims ‘diplomatic failure’, AL blames refugees’ unwillingness
BNP yesterday alleged that the government has diplomatically failed to initiate the repatriation of Rohingyas to their homeland in Myanmar, reports UNB.
However, Awami League has dismissed BNP’s allegation, stating that the repatriation process could not be initiated because of the Rohingyas’ “unwillingness”.
“A group of Rohingyas was supposed to return [to Myanmar], but they were unwilling to go. It’s not a diplomatic failure,” AL General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said, while responding to a question during a discussion in the capital.
The country Rohingyas will return to is their homeland, Quader said, adding that they have to consider issues like the environment there, their children, citizenship, security and so on.
It is normal to have such concerns under the circumstances, he added.
“Diplomacy is a continuous process,” Quader said, adding that the government’s efforts regarding Rohingya repatriation are ongoing.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had demonstrated her generosity when she opened the border for 11 lakh foreigners. There was no country which did not appreciate this magnanimity, Quader also said.
International pressure is mounting on Myanmar while its success depends on the country’s sincerity and willingness, he added.
His comments came following BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi’s claim that the government “couldn’t do anything” to start the repatriation of Rohingyas.
“It’s been a long time since they [Rohingyas] came here, but you [government] still couldn’t send any of them,” Rizvi said while speaking at a rally by Jatiyatabadi Muktijoddha Dal and Jatiyatabadi Muktijuddher Projonmo at Nayapaltan demanding the release of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia.
He further said, “It’s an utter failure. You’ve failed diplomatically to send the Rohingyas back.”
Rizvi said the government has long been saying it has many foreign friends, but no one did anything for it to begin the repatriation process. “But Bangladesh has long been enduring huge pressure of such a big population of Rohingyas.”
Despite all the preparations, no Rohingya turned up on Thursday to avail the voluntary repatriation offer given to them to go back to their place of origin in Rakhine state of Myanmar, prompting the authorities to suspend the repatriation process for the day, the UNB report adds.
The first batch of Rohingyas was scheduled to return on November 15 last year but it was also halted amid unwillingness of Rohingyas to go back -- for lack of a congenial environment in Rakhine.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Thursday said Bangladesh does not want to do anything by force and laid emphasis on resolving the trust-deficit among Rohingyas who refused to return to their homeland.
Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas most of whom entered the country since August 25, 2017. The two countries signed a repatriation deal on November 23, 2017, but there has been little progress.