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Diplomats for safe and dignified Rohingya return

Diplomats stationed in Dhaka today laid emphasis on "safe, voluntary and dignified" return of Rohingyas from Bangladesh to Myanmar to make their return sustainable.

They also laid emphasis on creating environment with necessary development in Rakhine state of Myanmar so that Rohingyas feel safe and confident to return to the country.

The diplomats also assured of continuing support to Bangladesh to facilitate the repatriation process.

Talking to reporters, Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla said it is necessary to have sustainable development in Rakhine state in order to create an environment for safe and sustainable of return of Rohingyas.

"It's timely briefing," he said assuring of their support to facilitate the process.

Rohingya refugees stand in a queue to collect aid supplies in Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, January 21, 2018. Photo: Reuters

British High Commissioner Alison Blake said the return should be "safe, voluntary and dignified" so that it becomes sustainable.

US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Bernicat also laid emphasis on safe return of Rohingyas.

She assured of US support to Bangladesh to complete the process.

Earlier, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali briefed diplomats stationed in Dhaka on Rohingya issue as Bangladesh and Myanmar are set to start repatriation process at the ground level.

The Foreign Minister started briefing Western and non-Muslim countries' diplomats from 4:00pm while he is briefing diplomats from Muslim majority countries from 5:30pm at State Guest House Padma in the city.

Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque is also attending the briefing.

Earlier yesterday, Minister Ali laid emphasis on continuing international pressure on Myanmar to resolve the Rohingya crisis.

"It (pressure) needs to continue until repatriation is completed."

He also said the Rohingya repatriation process will not be hampered due to the upcoming national election.

"Why, I don't see any reason," he said terming the progress made so far on Rohingya repatriation a big success for the government and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The foreign minister said the repatriation is an ongoing process and all people should help government take it forward successfully.

On January 16, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a document on 'Physical Arrangement' which will facilitate return of Rohingyas to their homeland from Bangladesh.

The 'Physical Arrangement' stipulates that the repatriation will be completed preferably within two years from the commencement of repatriation.

The United Nations has reiterated its call for voluntary repatriation of Rohingyas from Bangladesh saying Rohingyas need to feel that the situation is safe enough for them.

"It's up for people to choose to go home. No one should choose for them. Any repatriation of Rohingyas back to Myanmar needs to be voluntary," said spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric in a regular briefing at the UN Headquarters.

He said Rohingyas, now living in Bangladesh, need to be able to go to the homes from which they came. "I think they need to feel that the situation is safe enough."

There have been demonstrations on Friday in camps by Rohingyas protesting against plans to repatriate them back into Myanmar.

On the other hand, Myanmar authorities toured Maungtaw, Rakhine State on Friday and inspected the construction of houses to be used for repatriation of returnees from Bangladesh.

The delegation headed by Rakhine state Chief Minister U Nyi Pu visited the Hla Phoe Khaung, Ngakhuya and Taung Pyo Letwe camps and insisted on completion of the finishing touches on buildings, medical clinics and sanitation infrastructures, according to The Global New Light of Myanmar.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali on Thursday said the Rohingya problem can be solved permanently with sustainable return of Rohingyas to Myanmar.

(c) 2018 The Daily Star

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