On the road to repatriation

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News Desk

It has been nearly six years since the mass exodus of Rohingya refugees from Rakhine State; hundreds of thousands of the Rohingya had to flee their homes in the wake of the Myanmar army’s brutal attempt at genocide — with them eventually finding solace and shelter within the borders of Bangladesh.

Since then, Bangladesh has continued to display the highest levels of compassion and humanity, sheltering the now well over million Rohingya refugees, at great cost to its own resources. Nevertheless, while we have continued to do our duty, the long-term solution has always been one and one only — the safe and dignified repatriation of the Rohingya refugees.

To that end, the 22-member delegation from Myanmar that is currently in Teknaf upazila of Cox’s Bazar to observe the preparations for the repatriation of Rohingya is, we hope, the first step on the road to repatriation for the refugees who have already suffered more than enough.

We welcome the fact that the delegation will verify the list of the Rohingya willing to return to Myanmar and also visit Rohingya camps — dialogue and civil discussions between Bangladesh and Myanmar have been severely lacking, and it is steps like this that can turn things around.

However, while there appears to be reason for hope, we must also remember that Myanmar has historically shown negligence in doing right by the Rohingya and facilitating a safe and dignified return back home. The Bangladesh government has in the past provided a list of 862,000 Rohingya refugees to Myanmar authorities — and there has been no progress on that front at all.

The international community have been woeful in their response, and Myanmar have continued to enjoy impunity of the highest magnitude. It is about time that the global community stops shirking responsibility, and that collectively, pressure is put on Myanmar to start the repatriation process so that the Rohingya can safely go back home.

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