A vicious cycle

  • The UN must do more for Rohingyas
- The Daily Star

Nov 16, 2018-

In the past several months, it seemed increasingly likely that Bangladesh would face an odd situation over the impending repatriation of the Rohingya refugees—returning them to an incorrigibly hostile Myanmar or letting them stay on at the expense of an already overburdened host country. The challenge for Bangladesh is to make a decision, which it did, by choosing the first option. The first batch of refugees comprising 2,260 are set to be on their way back today, supervised by the UNHCR, despite apprehensions expressed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who has urged Dhaka to halt the repatriation.

We share the apprehensions of the UN. But we must say that merely expressing apprehensions is not enough. The fear is that the situation in Myanmar at the moment is not conducive for the Rohingyas to go back to their country, whereas Myanmar claims that such is not the case. Thus, we feel, it is for the UN to verify Myanmar’s claim and ensure that it creates and maintains the conditions favourable for the Rohingyas to return and live as citizens of that country. The UN must play its role to make Myanmar do its part in the repatriation deal.

The good thing is, as a Bangladeshi official said, it is a token repatriation and it’ll be a “test case” for Myanmar. The process has just begun. It might be long before a full-scale repatriation gets underway. We urge the UN to use this time and come up with an actionable plan to convince Myanmar to work on its pledge to create the right conditions for the return of its nationals. If necessary, it might even deploy observers inside Myanmar to oversee the repatriation and resettlement of the Rohingyas.

Published: 16-11-2018 07:43

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