Update February 1, 2021

Dhaka 10-41 am, 01-August, 2021

Dhaka expects to continue repatriation process with Myanmar

Mirajul Moin Joy

Bangladesh has expressed hope that the democratic process and constitutional arrangements will be upheld in Myanmar and the Rohingya repatriation process will continue.

“We have been persistent in developing mutually beneficial relations with Myanmar and have been working with Myanmar for the voluntary, safe and sustained repatriation of the Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh. We expect these processes to continue in right earnest,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, reports UNB.

The MoFA said Bangladesh firmly adheres to and promotes democratic ethos and as an immediate and friendly neighbour, Bangladesh would like to see peace and stability in Myanmar.

On Sunday, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said Myanmar responded positively to begin Rohingya repatriation with the next round of talks scheduled for the first week of February.

“We got some positive responses. We told them it’s an opportunity for you (Myanmar) to take back your nationals,” he told reporters after attending a programme in the city.

The Foreign Minister said they gave a figure to begin the repatriation and Bangladesh asked them to begin.

Dr Momen said peace and development in the region will be hampered if the Rohingya issue is not resolved.

He said a Director-General level meeting with Myanmar will be held in the first week of February this year.

In a separate briefing, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen said they briefed the Indian side about the recently held tripartite meeting among Bangladesh, Myanmar and China; and the roadmap ahead for repatriation.

He said Bangladesh expressed its hope that India will support in ensuring safety, security and sustainable livelihood of Rohingyas once they cross the border through repatriation.

The Foreign Secretary said Bangladesh also shared Japan’s interest in this regard and it will boost confidence among Rohingyas if India does the job together with Japan.

“They (Indian side) listened to our position with interest and said they remain engaged with Myanmar,” he said.

The Foreign Secretary referred to China’s welcoming of “constructive engagement” from the international community in the process.

Myanmar had earlier said that they are committed to beginning the repatriation of Rohingyas as per the bilateral agreement signed with Bangladesh in 2017.

Myanmar military television said Monday that the military was taking control of the country for one year, while reports said many of the country’s senior politicians including Aung San Suu Kyi had been detained, reports AP.

A presenter on military-owned Myawaddy TV announced the takeover and cited a section of the military-drafted constitution that allows the military to take control in times of national emergency.

He said the reason for takeover was in part due to the government’s failure to act on the military’s claims of voter fraud in last November’s election and its failure to postpone the election because of the coronavirus crisis.

The announcement and the declaration of a state of emergency follows days of concern about the threat of a military coup – and military denials that it would stage one – and came on the morning the country’s new Parliament session was to begin.

The takeover is a sharp reversal of the partial yet significant progress toward democracy Myanmar made in recent years following five decades of military rule and international isolation that began in 1962. It would also be a shocking fall from power for Suu Kyi, who led the democracy struggle despite years under house arrest and won a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts.

Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy released a statement on the Facebook page of its party head saying the military’s actions were unjustified and went against the constitution and the will of voters. The statement urged people to oppose Monday’s “coup” and any return to “military dictatorship.”

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