Update 23 সেকেন্ড

Dhaka 6-20 pm, 22-January, 2021

Rakhine is home of Rohingyas: Canada’s special envoy

Mirajul Moin Joy

Canadian Prime Minister’s special envoy to Myanmar Bob Rae today called for more international engagements for safe repatriation of Rohingyas saying that Myanmar’s Rakhine state is their homeland and described the crisis as a “too bigger” problem for Bangladesh.

“That (Rakhine) is the home of Rohingyas, every time I go to the (Rohingya) camps and ask them — where is your home? . . . They just say my home is Rakhine. I am a person from Rakhine,” he told a selected group of journalists including a BSS correspondent in the capital.

He said Rohingyas must return to Myanmar with condition of safety, security and dignity as well as their political rights.

Rae, however, said the most crucial need of the time for the international community was to extend enhanced assistance for Bangladesh as the crisis was “too bigger” an issue for a single country.

“What is the most important thing we need to describe is that Bangladesh cannot be left to feel that they are alone in dealing with this challenge,” he said.

Rae added: “It’s too much for a single country to deal with, it’s too bigger problem, so we need more international assistant.”

Bangladesh appeared as a makeshift abode of over 1 million forcibly displaced Rohingyas while some 700,000 of them crossed the border since the Myanmar military launched a ruthless clampdown in Rakhine to flush them out from their home on August 25 last year.

UN called the action “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing” and rights groups dubbed it “genocide”.

The envoy said Canada decided to increase its assistance to Bangladesh for dealing with the crisis and “other countries need to do same”.

He said Rohignyas emerged as the current world’s largest community without land “we can’t have 2 million stateless people who are citizen of Myanmar.”

Rae feared significant elements of Myanmar society were unwilling to accept Rohingyas presence and so “we have to recognize its political situation and required a political solution”.

“They (Rohingys) won’t be able to go back if conditions are not safe and secure. We can’t morally and legally send people back to a condition that is not safe,” he observed.

He suggested that Myanamr politicians need to do some political compromises by awarding citizenship to Rohingyas in bid to resolve the problem.

Rae also said those responsible for international crimes, including crimes against humanity and genocide, must be held responsible for those crimes in order to ensure accountability and to end impunity for violations of international law.

He put emphasis on gathering information of atrocities against Rohingyas in a “very systematic way” to hold perpetrators accountable and find political solution to Rohingya crisis.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Pierre James Trudeau appointed Rae as his special envoy to Myanmar on October 23 and since then he has been travelling a number of countries including Bangladesh and Myanmar to discus with political leaders, officials, and other concerned groups to make Canadian contribution in resolving the Rohingya crisis.

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