We don't know exactly how to respond to State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi's claim to international media that it is Bangladesh that is holding up Rohingya repatriation. Apparently, only we can decide how quickly the disenfranchised Rohingyas can return to Myanmar! It is ironic that Ms Suu Kyi should choose to skirt the whole issue of widespread violence that forced the mass exodus of the Rohingyas from their country of residence in the first place. It is not Bangladesh that is failing to create a conducive environment in Rakhine State that is holding back Rohingyas' return. We are not a nation that will forcibly push out an unarmed people that has faced mass violation of human rights.
Peaceful repatriation depends primarily on ensuring a safe environment in Rakhine and that depends entirely on Myanmar, not Bangladesh. For many decades, the Rohingyas have been stateless and these people wish to return with some form of guarantee that they will be accorded citizenship. Here, too, we have seen Myanmar's unwillingness to address the issue. Given that these are prerequisites to a lasting solution to the Rohingya crisis, we find the explanation given by the premier Myanmar statesperson—that repatriation is not taking place because of Bangladesh—to be a travesty of truth, to put it mildly.
Although Myanmar signed a MoU with Bangladesh towards the end of last year, which stated that repatriation would commence within two months of signing, nothing tangible has materialised. We reiterate our call to the international community, particularly the UN, to investigate allegations of crimes against the Rohingya people because the Myanmar government has shown little interest in bringing those responsible for such violations of human rights to justice. It is time to tell the Rohingyas that they are not a forgotten people.