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3 December, 2019 12:46:41 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 3 December, 2019 12:50:20 PM

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‘No UN objection’ to Rohingya relocation to Bhasan Char

UN technical team to visit island this month, says foreign secretary
DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT, Dhaka
‘No UN objection’ to Rohingya relocation to Bhasan Char

The United Nations (UN) has no objection to relocation of Rohingyas in Bhasan Char, said foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque.

A UN technical team is expected to visit Bhasan Char this month for further technical assessment there.

“The process of relocation will begin after the visit of the UN technical team,” Haque added.

He was talking to reporters  after a programme at the Foreign Service Academy in the capital.

On several occasions, the Bangladesh government has said that it wants to relocate some one lakh Rohingya people to decongest their present location in Cox’s Bazar, but different international agencies, including the UN, have opposed the move.

The international agencies had set several conditions such as the relocation should be voluntary and there should be free movement of the Rohingyas.

Bangladesh has been saying that nobody would be forced to move to the Bhasan Char shelter home. The government has taken the initiative as these people are living in congested camps on hilltops, where there is the impending danger of landslides during monsoon.

Bangladesh has been hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in different congested camps in Cox’s Bazar since their influx in August 2017 due to persecution by the Myanmar army.

Since then, not a single Rohingya has been sent back to his home in Rakhine despite two attempts. Asked whether the previous repatriation attempts were "premature" moves, Shahidul Haque parried the question.

When the repatriation process is being delayed, the Bangladesh government took a "temporary initiative" to relocate a portion of the Rohingyas in Bhasan Char, but that has not been possible yet.

However, the foreign secretary yesterday

came up with the optimistic view that the relocation will now be possible as the UN is not opposing it.

In reply to a query, Shahidul Haque said the UN has long been working with the government on the relocation process.

Earlier, foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen had said on different occasions that the Rohingya relocation would be a “temporary arrangement” before repatriation. He also said the relocation would be voluntary and safe.

In reply to another question, the foreign secretary said Rohingya repatriation and accountability and justice issues are deeply interlinked. “Accountability is crucial for sustainable Rohingya repatriation,” he added.

Asked whether Bangladesh would send any representative to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the trial of genocide committed in Myanmar with Myanmar representatives and Aung San Suu Kyi going there, Haque said: “As Gambia has filed the case, that country will see it. We will observe it.”

MK

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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