Govt urges UN agencies to play due role on Rohingya issue

Sheikh Shahariar Zaman
Published : 07:30, Jan 11, 2019 | Updated : 07:30, Jan 11, 2019

Rohingya refugees walk along the road in the evening at Balukhali camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, November 16, 2018. REUTERSThe government has criticised UN agencies working in Dhaka due to their non-functional role on Rohingya issue.
The displeasure was expressed Thursday (Jan 10) at a meeting of National Taskforce on Rohingya held at the foreign ministry where representatives from UN agencies were present.
UNDP and UNHCR have signed agreement with Myanmar for Rohingya repatriation and rehabilitation, but they are not allowed to work in Rakhine. Commissioner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi wanted to visit Rakhine, but it was declined by Myanmar. The situation was continuously deteriorating in Rakhine in the recent times and Rohingya influx is still going on.
In this backdrop, neither UN agencies in Dhaka nor their headquarters issued any public statement to let the world know what is happening in Myanmar.
“We told them they should have some conscience to tell the world what is happening on the ground,” said an official who attended the meeting.
“We urged them to play their due role,” he said adding, “Had they issued any statement, the Myanmar case could have been strongly presented at the UN Security Council.”
Another official said, “When anything happens in Bangladesh, they always make public statement, but the scenario is somewhat different for Myanmar case.”
Citing example, he said, “After the national election in Bangladesh, there was public reaction from the UN, but when there is humanitarian crisis going on in Myanmar, they are reluctant to do so.”
The meeting also discussed about the repatriation process which could not materialise on Nov 15 last year, said another official.
“We are ready for repatriation, but Rohingyas are afraid to go back to their own country,” he said.
They are afraid of their security, livelihood and other basic rights, he added.
As the Myanmar government is failed to create conducive environment in Rakhine, the Rohingyas are reluctant to go back, the official said.
“Bangladesh is committed to voluntary repatriation and nobody would be forced to go back,” he added.
The meeting was presided by Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque and attended by representatives from home and disaster management ministries, different agencies, Coast Guard, Bangladesh Border Guard and other relevant authorities.