Bangladesh on Monday called on Myanmar to allow nearly 1 million Rohingya Muslim refugees to return home under safe conditions, saying that the burden had become “untenable” on its territory.
Almost 600,000 people have crossed the border since Aug. 25 when Rohingya insurgent attacks on security posts were met by a counter-offensive by the Myanmar army in Rakhine state which the UN has called ethnic cleansing.
“This is an untenable situation.
“In spite of claims to the contrary, violence in Rakhine state has not stopped.
“Thousands still enter on a daily basis,’’ Shameem Ahsan, Bangladesh’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, told a UN pledging conference.
Ahsan said vital humanitarian aid must continue, adding it was of paramount importance that Myanmar delivers on its recent promises and works toward safe, dignified, voluntary return of its nationals back to their homes in Myanmar.
He said Bangladesh’s interior minister was in Yangon for talks to find a “durable solution”.
“However, Myanmar continued to issue propaganda projecting Rohingyas as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh,’’ Ahsan said, adding that this blatant denial of the ethnic identity of Rohingyas remains a stumbling block.
Report says Myanmar considers the Rohingya to be stateless, although they trace their presence in the country back to generations.
Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, later told newsmen that the two countries had begun talks on “repatriation”.
“Conducive conditions have to be recreated in Rakhine.
“This must include a solution to the question of citizenship, or rather lack thereof for the Rohingya community,” Grandi said.
Khaled al-Jarallah, deputy foreign minister of Kuwait, called on Myanmar authorities to cease the practice of stripping the Rohingya minority of their right of citizenship, which as a result deprives them of the right to property and employment.