India and Canada yesterday called for voluntary and safe repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar and allowing of UN and other international organisations to facilitate the return process.
The issue of Rohingya refugees figured during the talks between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau at the Hyderabad House.
Later, a joint statement said “the two leaders discussed the humanitarian and security crisis in Rakhine State of Myanmar and across the border in Bangladesh.
“Canada and India call for the voluntary, safe and sustainable return of the people displaced, while stressing the importance of ensuring law and order and respect for human dignity in this process. They called for restoration of humanitarian access for relevant UN and other international organisations to facilitate the return process, ” the statement said.
The joint call by India and Canada assume importance as Myanmar is yet to start taking back an estimated one million Rohingyas sheltered in south eastern Bangladesh and is yet to allow the involvement of UN and other international agencies in the repatriation process.
The joint statement said Modi and Trudeau also expressed “ strong concern ” over recent developments in Maldives and their implications for a free society and called for early revocation of the state of Emergency in that country to allow all democratic institutions to function independently.
“As leaders of parliamentary systems, they deplored the degradation of judicial independence and authority and of democratic institutions, as well as respect for fundamental freedoms, including those of speech and assembly, constitutional rights and obligations under international law.
“The Government of Maldives was urged to ensure early resumption of the political process after revoking the state of emergency and to allow democratic institutions, including the judiciary, to function independently in a fair and transparent manner, ” the statement said.