Will Aung San Suu Kyi fulfill her promise of taking back Rohingyas to Myanmar?
Naypyidaw, Oct 26: Several international bodies and personalities have severely criticised Myanmar's de-facto leader and Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi for alleged violence unleashed against the Rohingyas by the Myanmar's military under her rule which led to their exodus to Bangladesh.
According to an estimate, at least 600,000 Rohingyas have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh since violence broke out in Rakhine State on August 25. Bangladesh, which is facing the unprecedented crisis of taking care of millions of refugees with little resources at disposal, has asked Myanmar to take back the Rohingyas to their homeland.
On Wednesday, Suu Kyi said her government has begun to work on taking back those who crossed over to Bangladesh from Rakhine state to escape a military crackdown.
The Myanmar State Counsellor and head of the ruling party made the statement during a meeting with Bangladesh home minister Asaduzzaman Khan, bdnews24 reported.
A 10-member delegation led by the Bangladesh minister attended the hour-long discussion with Suu Kyi, said home ministry spokesman Sharif Mahmud Apu.
Suu Kyi also spoke of adopting the recommendations of the Kofi Annan Commission. The visiting minister, on behalf of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, invited Suu Kyi to visit Bangladesh. She agreed - "at a time convenient to both countries".
It is not that Bangladesh just wants the return of Rohingyas to their "homeland", but insists that Myanmar should ensure safety of refugees once they reach their "homes".
"This is an untenable situation," Shameem Ahsan, Bangladesh's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, told at a conference, on Monday.
"Despite claims to the contrary, violence in Rakhine State has not stopped. Thousands still enter on a daily basis." Ahsan stated that Myanmar must ensure "safe, dignified and voluntary return" of its nationals.
"It is of paramount importance that Myanmar delivers on its recent promises and works towards safe, dignified, voluntary return of its nationals back to their homes in Myanmar," Ahsan said.
Bangladesh's interior minister was in Yangon on Monday for talks to find a "durable solution", he added. Recently, a senior official of Myanmar, during his visit to Bangladesh, agreed to take back the Rohingyas.
However, Myanmar is continuing with its "propaganda projecting Rohingyas as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh", Ahsan said, adding: "This blatant denial of the ethnic identity of Rohingyas remains a stumbling block." Myanmar considers the Rohingyas to be stateless.
Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said that both Myanmar and Bangladesh had begun talks on "repatriation". Conducive conditions have to be "recreated" in Rakhine, he said.
"This must include a solution to the question of citizenship, or rather lack thereof for the Rohingya community," Grandi added. Recently, Myanmar hosted a protest against the return of Rohingyas, where several Buddhist monks also took part.