Myanmar govt-Rohingya meeting ends without an outcome


Naypyidaw outright rejects int’l presence in Rakhine demanded by Rohingya

Myanmar outright rejected the longtime demand of the Rohingya to allow international presence to monitor the situation after the return of the displaced people to their homes.

Naypyidaw also said that the Rohingya must apply in accordance with the controversial citizenship act of 1982 that deprived the citizenship of the Rohingya.

The Rohingya, sheltered in Bangladesh to escape the brutalities of the Myanmar security forces and their allies in Rakhine, have also been told that the only way to apply for citizenship is through NVC (national verification card) which is aseopposed by the displaced people.

The Myanmar officials made these known to the Rohingya community leaders in a meeting held in a Rohingya camp in Cox’s Bazar on Wednesday. The second such meeting will be held on Thursday.

The 15-member delegation, which arrived in the country on Wednesday morning on a two-day visit, comprises nine officials of different ministries of Myanmar and six from Asean countries. Besides, an official from the Chinese embassy in Dhaka was also present in the meeting. On behalf of the hundreds of Rohingya in Cox’s Bazar, 47 community leaders, including 6 women, took part in the discussion.

Members of the delegation from Myanmar and Asean visit the Rohingya camps at Ukhiya in Cox’s Bazar on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 | Dhaka Tribune “The Myanmar side unequivocally said that there will be no international presence. Everything will be done by us,” said a foreign ministry official present at the meeting.

“The Rohingya made it clear that they would not return until an international verification system is put in place,” he said.

“The Myanmar officials also said that Rohingya will have to apply in accordance with the citizenship law of 1982 and to do that the Rohingya community has to fill in the NVCs. The officials insisted over and over again for the Rohingya to take the NVCs,” said the official.

In response, he said that the Rohingya community leaders unequivocally stated that they would not go to Myanmar with NVCs. The Rohingya also said that they would only return with full citizenship and other rights, he added   

The Rohingya made it clear to the delegation, led by director-general of the Myanmar foreign ministry, that the security and safety in Rakhine is not adequate for them to return, said a government official.

“The Myanmar side also does not recognize the meeting as a dialogue rather they describe it as ‘go and talk’, he said.

All in all, the stance of Myanmar has not changed in regards to taking their people back to their homes, said the officials.

This meeting is eyewash on the part of Myanmar and there this no way it reflects any sincerity from the country’s second neighbour, they said.

The Rohingya leaders also expressed frustration over the outcome of the first-day meeting.

Photo shows members of the delegation at the Cox’s Bazar airport on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 | Dhaka Tribune“Myanmar officials were saying the same things over and over again. We will not return with NVCs. We have said this time and again before. But, they (Myanmar government) keeps saying the same thing,” Rohingya community leader Mohib Ullah said. 

“There is nothing new in the discussion,” he said.    

Master Siraj Ahmed, another community leader described the meeting as a drama and said that it is a ploy of the Myanmar government to distract the attention of the international community from the proceedings at the International Court of Justice.

“We have repeatedly requested the Myanmar delegation to grant us citizenship but they avoided the issue. Under such a situation, I don’t see any solution in regards to the repatriation,” said Dr Jobaer Ahmed.

“We cannot make the Myanmar officials believe the issue of torture on the Rohingya. They are simply not ready to hear anything about violence in Rakhine. They said take the NVCs first then full citizenship will be provided. But, there are so many conditions in relation to NVCs,” said female community leader Jamalida Begum.   

Earlier on July 27 this year, such meetings took place. That delegation also had representatives from Asean countries. 

The two-day meeting ended without any outcome but with an assurance to hold dialogues between the Myanmar government and the Rohingya. But, no initiative was taken for any dialogue by the Myanmar side.