UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News

Myanmar

China agrees to help Rohingya repatriation

Myanmar and Bangladesh reportedly working with Beijing to ensure safe return for Muslim refugees

Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
China agrees to help Rohingya repatriation

A Rohingya refugee youth looks at cellphones in a shop in a market area of the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia, Bangladesh, on Sept. 13. Cut off from mobile internet services and with Bangladeshi police seizing their SIM cards, desperate Rohingya refugees are sneaking out of their camps to buy black market cards and top up credit. (Photo by Munir Uz Zaman/AFP)

Share this article :
Myanmar, Bangladesh and China have agreed to set up a tripartite working mechanism to move forward the repatriation of thousands of Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh.

Myanmar’s Minister of the State Counselor’s Office Kyaw Tint Swe, Bangladeshi Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a meeting informally on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Sept. 24.

They agreed to establish a joint working group to be responsible for the implementation of Rohingya repatriation, according to media reports.

And they have decided that strong political will and an improvement in the economic situation of conflict-torn Rakhine State to promote stability are needed to solve the issues.

Christine Schraner Burgener, the U.N. special envoy to Myanmar, also attended the New York meeting, which followed the delayed process of repatriation of thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled Rakhine in August 2017.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia head at Human Rights Watch, said that by formally inviting China into a planning process for repatriation of the Rohingya, Bangladesh has recognized it needs an ally to overcome Myanmar’s resistance to ensuring conditions are suitable for the refugees’ safe return.

He said two planned repatriations have foundered because Myanmar failed to make guarantees the Rohingya say they need on citizenship, monitoring and protection, a return to home areas, freedom of movement and access to services.

“It will be interesting to see if China’s increased clout in the Asian region can deliver positive changes in Myanmar’s attitudes that everyone can welcome,” Robertson told ucanews.com.

Kyaw Min, chairman of the Yangon-based Human Rights and Democracy Party, which fights for Rohingya rights, said successful repatriation is unlikely if conditions in Rakhine are not conducive for a safe return, whether or not China helps.

“The key thing is to dialogue with the Myanmar government and the Rohingya refugees who fled from Rakhine to negotiate over their demands,” Kyaw Min told ucanews.com.

He added that Myanmar’s government is responsible for creating conditions for the dignified return of thousands of Rohingya and a third party like the U.N. or the United States (not China) needs to play a role to guarantee safe repatriation.

A second attempt to repatriate 3,540 Rohingya from three camps in Cox’s Bazar district on Aug. 22 failed after the refugees refused to return unconditionally to Myanmar.

The attempt came only days before the second anniversary on Aug. 25 of the military crackdown in Rakhine that forced more than 742,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh.

Rohingya in the camps have called on Myanmar’s government to grant full citizenship rights and to guarantee their safety in Rakhine before they agree to return under a repatriation agreement that Myanmar and Bangladesh signed in November 2017.

Myanmar’s government regards the Rohingya as “Bengalis.” By not recognizing the term “Rohingya,” the government has implied that they are illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh despite vast numbers of them having lived in Myanmar for decades.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
UCA Newsletter
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter

Also Read

UCA News Podcast
UCAN Ad
 
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution