Dhaka [Bangladesh]: Japan on Tuesday offered to play a role of mediator between Bangladesh and Myanmar to ensure peaceful and smooth repatriation of Rohingya people to their place of origin in Rakhine State.
The said offer was proposed during a bilateral meeting between Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and his Japanese counterpart Tara Kono here on Tuesday.
At a joint press conference following the bilateral, the two diplomats stressed on the need for necessary steps to be taken by the Myanmar government to create an environment conducive to the return of the Rohingyas, reported Dhaka Tribune.
Kono, who is on a three-day official visit to Bangladesh, visited Rohingya settlements in Cox’s Bazar earlier in the day and talked to many people living there to understand their situation first hand.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Law Minister Anisul Huq on Tuesday told the United Nations (UN) that the flow of Rohingyas into Bangladesh, although low, continues still.
More than 700,000 Rohingya were forced to flee the northern Rakhine in western Myanmar following a brutal military crackdown in 2017. The United Nations said that the offensive against the ethnic group included mass killings and gang rapes executed with “genocidal intent”.
Followingly, the minorities took shelter in three dozen camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, pushing the number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to above 1.2 million. Many still fear for their safety if they return to Myanmar where the Muslim minority has faced decades of repression.
It may be noted that Bangladesh and Myanmar had signed a repatriation deal in November 2017, but so far virtually no Rohingya have volunteered to return. Bangladesh has said it will not force any Rohingya to leave the country.
On Saturday, a 15-member delegation of Myanmar government officials visited Cox’s Bazar and held repatriation talks with the Muslim community.
Last November, a move to start the repatriation process fell through after none of the Rohingya agreed to return to Myanmar. It followed a visit to the camps in October last year by a Myanmar delegation.