We are dumbfounded by Myanmar's despicable lies at the United Nations General Assembly alleging that Bangladesh was harbouring terrorists in Cox's Bazar's Rohingya camps. Myanmar also claimed that more than 350 Rohingyas from Cox's Bazar camps had returned to Rakhine State. Myanmar's continuous attempts to distort the truth—as part of which it presented fabricated facts to the UN—just expose its unwillingness to take back its own nationals with safety, security and dignity. Bangladesh made its position clear at the UNGA that it didn't allow terrorists to use its territory and also raised questions over Myanmar's claim of repatriating 350 Rohingyas.
Bangladesh has been sheltering over 1.1 million forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals. More than three years have passed, but not a single Rohingya could be repatriated and more are entering Bangladesh amid violence in Rakhine. During these three years, two repatriation attempts failed—one in November 2018 and another in August 2019—because Myanmar had no intention of implementing the repatriation deal signed with Bangladesh. Myanmar made "concocted and misleading" statements on the development in Rakhine State, particularly regarding the repatriation process. However, in reality, the conditions in Rakhine were so bad that not a single Rohingya wanted to return to Myanmar. Myanmar must let Bangladesh know the whereabouts and conditions of the 350 Rohingyas who they claim have returned.
Myanmar has said at the UN that bilateral cooperation was the only way to effectively resolve the Rohingya repatriation issue between Bangladesh and Myanmar. We strongly disagree with Myanmar on this issue because the Rohingya issue is not a bilateral one—it is Myanmar's internal problem. Our prime minister has rightly said at the UN that "the problem was created by Myanmar and its solution must be found in Myanmar."
We urge Myanmar to shun its policy of lies and propaganda and demonstrate genuine political will to take back its own nationals with safety, security and dignity. Clearly, Myanmar's unsubstantiated claims and undue accusations against Bangladesh were part of their efforts to avoid their obligation of Rohingya repatriation. Myanmar must move away from such shameful practices, and work sincerely to start the repatriation process. It should open Rakhine to international organisations, UN and the media to observe the situation on the ground. The international community, especially countries that have good relations with Myanmar, should continue to exert pressure on Myanmar to improve the conditions in Rakhine for voluntary return of the Rohingyas. Most importantly, the Myanmar authorities must face justice for the atrocities they committed against a section of their own population. Only then will the Rohingya people get confidence to return to Rakhine.