National, Front Page

Rahingyas keen to return home

A quarter creates roadblock

Published : 09 Jun 2023 09:49 PM

Rohingya repatriation process may hopefully be started soon by tripartite efforts initiated by China, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

By this time quite a number of teams have visited the locations in Myanmar where the Rohingyas are supposed to be repatriated.

It is learnt from official sources that the negotiating parties are working day and night for the implementation of the repatriation process. Very surprisingly, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Tom Andrews is trying to oppose and delay the process. He has commented that this process should stop immediately. But millions of Rohingyas staying in Bangladesh are very eager to return to their homeland.

Hundreds of Thousands of Rohingya refugees in the camps of Cox’s Bazaar on Thursday have demonstrated demanding immediate repatriation to their homeland in Myanmar with having their basic rights.

They chanted slogan “Let’s go home,” during the demonstration at Ukhiya and Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar. 

A foreign team headed by China, which can play a pivotal role in managing Myanmar, is very active in expediting the repatriation process.  

Since August 25 in 2017, Bangladesh has been hosting over 1.2 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar district and most of them arrived there after a military crackdown by Myanmar, which the UN called a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” and other rights groups dubbed as “genocide”.

Myanmar, however, has not taken back a single Rohingya in the last six years yet while repatriation attempts failed twice due to trust deficit among the forcibly displaced people about their safety and security in Rakhine state

During Thursday’s demonstrations across the sprawling camps, refugees, young and old, waved placards and chanted slogans.

“No more refugee life. No verification. No scrutiny. No interview. We want quick repatriation through UNHCR data card. We want to go back to our motherland," the placards read. 

Let's go back to Myanmar. Don't try to stop repatriation."

The Rohingya refugees said that they are the citizens of Myanmar by birth. 

Therefore, they want to go back home with all their rights, including citizenship, free movement, livelihood, safety, and security.

While the Rohingya refugees were staging demonstrations demanding repatriation to their homeland Myanmar, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, on the contrary in a statement the same day said Bangladesh must immediately suspend a pilot repatriation project for Rohingya refugees to return home.

His (Tom Andrews) statement raised question from different quarters.     

Therefore, it is clear to all that some vested quarters are trying to obstruct the repatriation process of the Rohingya people.

The Rohingya refugees  smelt rats in the statement of Un  official. 

Rohingya refugees expressing resentment over UN role said it is being looked into whether the UN is helping them to return home.

On the other hand, the law and order situation in the Cox's Bazar camps is getting deteriorated and complicated day by day with no sign of improvement.

Several killings happened across the refugee camps in the last six years.

At least 20 organised armed gangs are now active in the Rohingya refugee camps.

A large number of Rohingyas were killed in the last six years in internal conflicts among these gangs while many others including three women died in gunfights with security forces.

The Rohingya camps are witnessing bloodshed for no reason, while drugs are being trafficked in from Myanmar.

The growing violence and crimes can go beyond control, if an immediate measure is not taken in this regard.  

Several Rohingyas formed at least 20 gangs, who are now involved in serious crimes like arms and drugs peddling, human trafficking, gold smuggling, kidnapping and killing.

They are also committing robbery, burglary, cyber crime, sexual harassment and running illegal SIM and hundi trading.

These organised displaced Rohingya armed groups are also running juvenile gangs in order to serve their purposes.

Apart from law and order, the environment of Ukhia in Cox's Bazar, which has a deep forest, has been ruined due to staying of the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals.

They are reducing the forest by cutting trees and causing great environmental hazards in the area.

Rohingyas are becoming frustrated due to protracted uncertainty over their repatriation which has a potential risk as it entices many of them to get involved in criminal activities.

Around 45,000 Rohingya babies are being born every year.

Bangladesh government has developed temporary shelter for the Rohingyas in Bhashanchar Island with all the facilities where 30,000 Rohingyas have so far been shifted.

But, local people of Cox's Bazar are facing serious difficulties and sufferings because of them (Rohingyas).

The relocation arrangements can not be a permanent solution.

But, the UN, responsible for supplying the basic humanitarian needs of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, remains silent on the issue of Rohingyas repartition since the initiatives were taken.

The UN, other foreign countries and right bodies now should come forward and extend all out cooperation to Bangladesh in order to ensure smooth repatriation of Rohingyas.

As it is a big threat to Bangladesh national security, all stakeholders should sincerely work to find a solution to the Rohingya crisis.

Bangladesh and Myanmar also held several meetings of the Joint Working Group (JWG) regarding repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingyas from Bangladesh to their homeland in Rakhine state of Myanmar.

Bangladesh called upon Myanmar early commencement of repatriation to lessen the colossal burden of hosting the displaced Rohingya people.

The country stressed on expediting the verification process of the Rohingyas to begin their repatriation to their place of origin in Rakhine State of Myanmar.

But, all efforts to send back Rohingya refugees to their motherland went in vain.