Assurance by the Myanmar government to take back the rest of the Rohingya refugees numbering about 28000 is indeed very welcome and good news. This has come at the end of the bilateral talks with PM Sheikh Hasina and President U Thein Sein in the Myanmar capital.
One would recall that a similar call was also made by our foreign minister in Bali in September 2009, very soon after the AL led alliance government assumed the reins of the government. We welcome the assurance to take back the Rohingyas albeit after verification, particularly for the reason that Myanmar has shifted its earlier position that Rohingyas were not an ethnic entity of that country.
It should be noted that Bangladesh has had to endure great stress for almost two decades of a very large number of Rohingyas, who were illegally evicted from their hearth and homes despite the fact that they were living in that region of Myanmar for centuries.
And notwithstanding the spontaneous assistance of the donor agencies and other international organisations, the refugees were creating adverse law and order and social and environmental problems for Bangladesh which, given our meager resources, had been difficult to mange. Reportedly, many of these refugees had also managed to merge with the local population and eventually get Bangladeshi passports to travel abroad as Bangladeshi workers.
And, in spite of its limitations, not only had the Bangladesh government handled the refugee issue with the most humanitarian approach it had also extended all kinds of assistance to its eastern neighbour for the repatriation of the Rohingyas.
We would like to emphasise on quick repatriation, and since there is already a list cleared by the UNHCR we feel that the process can commence immediately. We also endorse our PM's suggestion to establish a working group for a permanent resolution of the problem.