Demands of over a million Rohingya genocide survivors are totally ignored by China, Myanmar and Bangladesh jointly during a tripartite meeting over repatriation on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.
The meeting was attended by Bangladeshi FM AK Abdul Momen, two of his Chinese and Myanmar counterparts, Wang Yi and Kyaw Tint Swe respectively, UN secretary-general’s special envoy on Myanmar Christine Burgener and some other high ranking officials from all the three countries.
The three parties agreed to form a China-Myanmar-Bangladesh Joint Working Mechanism consisting of the Chinese and Myanmar ambassadors in Dhaka and a director general from the Bangladesh foreign ministry. The first meeting of the group is expected to take place in October.
They also agreed to monitor and assess on-the-ground preparations for repatriation of the genocide survivors and jointly evaluate the progress.
Though Myanmar has assured to have have taken all the necessary preparations to take their citizens back, Bangladesh blamed Myanmar over failure to build confidence among the Rohingyas yet. “They will return, only when they feel that they have safety, security, and free mobility after their return.”
In this regards, RVision has contacted several Rohingya refuges in the ground to get their opinions.
ND Ahmed, a refugee said, “Burma’s necessary preparations means setting up NVC booths in the welcoming centers, building up long lasting camps like IDPs and deploying security forces there to persecute us more.” He added “Is it what they mean by safety and security?”
Neither Rohingya representatives are included in the meeting nor their demand is considered. “the least demands of the refugees that can be summarized in ‘restoration of citizenship revoked’ is not even discussed during the talk. How can we go back?” said another refugee on condition of anonymity.
“One million people were forcefully deported after what they owned was totally destroyed and thousands of lives were lost. Women were raped. After all these, do you want us to go back to the same killing fields or to the camps forever as openly announced by ex-president Thein Sein?”
In 2012, Thein Sein proposed the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres in a meeting that “The solution to this problem is that they can be settled in refugee camps managed by UNHCR, and UNHCR provides for them. If there are countries that would accept them, they could be sent there,”. This is the plan what the government is exactly implementing.
Earlier this month, China offered to facilitate a visit by a group of Rohingya refugees to Rakhine state to check the situation there.
“Why the group should go there to see the ground situation and what they will look, while Myanmar has not yet brought the change in the papers? The change must start from papers not from the grounds.” a refugee activist told.
He continued “Of course, refugees overloaded Bangladesh. We will prefer to leave for another place other than Burma, if we’re forced to return.”
In order to serve their own interests, China, Myanmar and Bangladesh are keen to jumpstart the repatriation whereas the interests of refugees are overlooked – Bangladesh has to unburden its shoulders, Myanmar to decrease the mounting pressure and China to start its business projects on the lands where Rohingya once used to live, as it completed the Shwe Gas project in 2012 after Thidar Htwe’s murder was planned to instigate a communal riot between Rakhine and Rohingya, so as to complete its project in collaboration with Military while the locals were being preoccupied in mutual clashes. It was followed by another incident in Meiktila, the place where the Shwe Gas pipeline passed through.
Amid repatriation talks and attempts, there are many Rohingya remaining inside Arakan are looking for a way out as they face non-stop ill-treatments of authorities and local extremists. Recently the UN reported that the remaining 600,000 Rohingya are at high risk of genocide. In addition, in the ongoing AA-Military clashes Rohingya has become a common target.
The displaced Buddhists caused by these clashes would not outnumber 10 thousands in almost two years, whereas 10 hundred thousands Rohingya were forced to flee in just two months of operation. Myanmar’s ultimate plan is to force them out or lock them in camps.
The IDPs in several camps are still waiting to go back to their original homes.
This time the Rohingya refugees look determinant not to repeat the post-repatriation history of 1978 and 1992-3.
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