Rohingyas still unsure about fulfilment of pledges made to them

Sheikh Shahariar Zaman
Published : 12:10, Aug 23, 2019 | Updated : 12:15, Aug 23, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Shakira, a 22 year old Rohingya is helped as refugees arrive by a wooden boat from Myanmar to the shore of Shah Porir Dwip, in Teknaf, near Cox`s Bazar in Bangladesh, Oct 1, 2017. REUTERSDue to uncertainty over citizenship, security and other rights, the planned repatriation of Rohingyas did not go ahead on Thursday (Aug 22).
Though an effort failed for a second time, the initiative to send back Rohingyas will continue. Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Mohammad Abul Kalam said that with help from international communities, a conducive atmosphere will have to be created to ensure the return of the Rohingyas.
“We are the third party here, Myanmar has to fulfill demands of Rohingyas and create a situation of trust so people would want to go back,” he said, underlining the role of the international community.
“The UN’s general assembly will start next month; in the last two years,Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina raised the issue at the UN and she may outline a way forward this year, based on which, a solution may emerge,” said Kalam.
Rohingyas want citizenship, return of confiscated lands and assurance of a livelihood, said the commissioner, adding: “To see the actual situation, officials from the Chinese and Myanmar embassies were here.”
Bangladesh has given a list of nearly 55,000 Rohingyas so far, of which, Myanmar finalised the names of 3,450 persons. When asked, none of the persons of the final list wanted to go back.
Former Bangladesh envoy to China, Munshi Foyez Ahmed, says: “There needs to be a thorough analysis as to why they are unwilling to go back; in addition, their insecurities need to be addressed too.”
It’s possible that the Rohingyas cannot keep any trust on the pledges made by Myanmar and, therefore, it’s up to Myanmar to instil a sense of confidence among the Rohingyas that the promises made to them will be fulfilled, added the former diplomat.
“Regional powers, including China, have to go deeper into the problem and find ways to take this forward,” added Ahmed.
Former Bangladesh military attache to Myanamar, Shahidul Huq, says: “The pressure has to be kept on Myanmar; recently, USA imposed travel embargoes on several Burmese generals; this has to stay.”
Rohingyas don’t want to go back because they feel the environment in Rakhine is not favourable, he commented, adding: “The government in Myanmar is trying to ensure that the Rohingya issue does not become a major point of contention in the next election.”
Since Myanmar will go to polls next year, the military will not be willing to make this into a political issue, he added.