TIB on Rohingya repatriation: It’s diplomatic limitation of Dhaka, not failure

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TIB has said Bangladesh tried its level best to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar but were unsuccessful due to its diplomatic limitations.

“Dhaka did not diplomatically fail in the repatriation process. Rather I’d say it was our limitation that led to the unsuccessful repatriation of the Rohingya people,” Executive Director of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Dr Iftekharuzzaman said.

Iftekharuzzaman was addressing a press meet at the TIB office in Dhaka on Thursday where a study styled “Bangladesh’s Stance on Forcibly Displaced Rohingyas: Challenges to Good Governance and Ways to Overcome” was launched.

He said Myanmar, along with many international agencies and foreign states thwarted Bangladesh’s attempts to repatriate Rohingyas to their homeland.

“The countries backing Myanmar, donor agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) think they are displaying sympathy to Bangladesh by supplying relief to the refugees,” he observed.

“Countries including India, China, and Japan are supporting Myanmar so the repatriation process failed,” Iftekharuzzaman said.

TIB officials Md Shahnur Rahman, Nazmul Huda Mina, and Golam Mohiuddin carried out the research by collecting data from different government offices and NGOs working in Cox’s Bazar, between October 13-30 this year.

They also interviewed the people from both host and refugee communities over the period.

Analyzing the report, Iftekharuzzaman said: “We fear that the nearly 10 million Rohingyas sheltered at different refugee camps may stay for a long time.”

“Despite such circumstances, the government is not making any long-term plan, which is a must,” he said.

The TIB executive director furthered that the NGOs and donor agencies in the future may continue lending their helping hand through funds and relief materials as now.

“So, Bangladesh must have short, middle and long-term plans in terms of funding. All stakeholders must be engaged in the process,” he suggested.

Bangladesh, he added, also must assess how long it can keep providing refuge to the Rohingya people.

Bangladesh is currently hosting the largest number of stateless people in the world with about 906,000 people, mainly because of the Rohingya exodus that began in August 2017, according to the International Organization of Migration.

Bangladesh tried to repatriate the Rohingyas to Myanmar twice. However, both attempts – the first in November 2018 and the latest in August last – failed due to the complete unwillingness of the refugees.

On both occasions, they said that Myanmar did not create a congenial atmosphere suitable for their return. Some leading NGOs also attested to that fact.

Bangladesh will not make a third attempt at beginning repatriation without the confirmation of success, officials concerned said.

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