Bangladesh ready for Aug 22 Rohingya repatriation

Sheikh Shahariar Zaman
Published : 19:38, Aug 19, 2019 | Updated : 19:41, Aug 19, 2019

Rohingya refugees carry bricks to a construction site at the Balukhali camp in Cox`s Bazar, Bangladesh, April 8, 2019. REUTERS/File PhotoBangladesh has taken all preparation to start the repatriation of the first batch of Rohingyas from Thursday (Aug 22).
Logistic, security and medical facilities are in place while the UNHRC and RRRC office will start interviewing Rohingya families from Tuesday (Aug 19) to know whether the refugees will return to Rakhine voluntarily.
“The repatriation centres are ready with adequate security measures have already been taken,” Refugee, Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (RRRC) in Cox’s Bazar Mohammad Abul Kalam told Bangla Tribune over phone.
Transport facilities are all set to carry the Rohingyas to the repatriation camps in Ghumdum border and they will undergo medical check-up before departure, he said.
“We have selected the land route for repatriation,” he said.
The commissioner said the repatriation list cleared by Myanmar comprised of 3,399 Rohingyas belonged to 1,038 families.
The problem is Myanmar cleared 1,390 Rohingyas belonged to 337 families in full while 2,009 belonged to 701 families are fragmented, he said.
“It might be difficult for the fragmented families to go back to Rakhine leaving some of the members here in Bangladesh,” he added.
Abul Kalam said the UN refugee agency would interview the Rohingyas to know about voluntariness and representative from his office would be also present there.
“This is the decision we have taken that UNHRC will interview them in presence of government representative,” he said.
It is mentionable in the last repatriation attempt on Nov 15 last year, UNHRC interviewed the Rohingya families without any government representative and that time nobody showed their willingness to go back.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque at a programme held on Sunday said in the next couple of weeks when we would try and encourage Rohingyas to go back to their homeland.
The foreign secretary also said if they don’t go back to their homeland they would not only deprived of the land rights but would be deprived of all rights.
In another development, Myanmar’s Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) had a series of meetings in Cox’s Bazar with RRRC and officials of UN agencies.
The delegation led by a former Japanese ambassador came to Dhaka on Saturday and will leave on Wednesday.
Over 0.7 million Rohingyas fled Rakhine since Aug 2017 when Myanmar military started an assault against them to drive them out from their homes.
The Myanmar military supported by their civil government led by Aung Sun Suu Kyi killed thousand of people, raped Rohingya women and burnt down their houses.
According to an estimate that over 25,000 Rohingyas were killed by Myanmar military since the attack began.