Bangladesh, Myanmar agree to discuss return of Rohingya

Obaidul Quader

In its affidavit last month, the Centre had told the apex court that Rohingya Muslims are "illegal" immigrants in the country and their continued (rpt continued) stay posed "serious national security ramifications".

There can be no peace without justice, and the 2008 Constitution guarantees the military permanent supremacy over the civilian government and total immunity for crimes it commits.

A group of foreign diplomats and United Nations agency heads participated in a tour of northern Rakhine State yesterday that was billed by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi as an opportunity to learn the "real situation" in the conflict-stricken area.

We are shocked about violence directed at the Rohingya people of Myanmar (formerly Burma) and condemn this violent action, which has been called a "textbook" example of ethnic cleansing against a religious minority. The Bangladesh minister for Home Affairs declared that if repatriation takes too long, the Rohingyas would be relocated to the Bay of Bengal where an island is now being equipped to host parts of the country's navy.

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Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed to set up a "joint working group" tasked with paving the way for the return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees, who have fled a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar's Muslim-majority Rakhine State.

Those fleeing have described indiscriminate attacks by security forces and Buddhist mobs, including monks, as well as killings and rapes.

Bangladesh will nominate its representative to the Joint Working Group Myanmar will give theirs to make it functional, minister said terming it a start of the repatriation of Rohingya.

"Thailand is closely following the situation in the Rakhine State with concern", the ministry said.

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"Although the security situation has improved in the affected areas and (there has been) no more armed clashes since September 5, much needs to be done to consolidate the stability in the region", he said.

"We are looking forward to a peaceful solution to the crisis", said Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali.

"We have referred implementation of the recommendation of the Kofi Annan Commission", said the foreign minister.

The official said Bangladesh would stick to its stance calling for the return of all 900,000 Rohingya refugees now living in the country's southeastern border region. To Rohingya refugees, this is just "drama".

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More than half a million Rohingya Muslims fled their nation's army as it advanced, crossing into neighboring Bangladesh. This would be done according to criteria agreed in 1993, when tens of thousands of Rohingya were repatriated, she said. He said the other five suspects were arrested and remanded over the weekend.

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