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December 11, 2019

Rakhine issue cannot be solved by pressuring Myanmar

The recently drafted resolution on Myanmar at the meeting of the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee) grossly mischaracterized the complex issue of Rakhine.
While the Independent Commission of Enquiry-ICOE formed by the Myanmar Government is carrying out its investigation into human rights allegations in Rakhine State, international pressure on Myanmar has become more of a nuisance and disturbance.
ICOE is a free and independent body made up of trustworthy international personnel. The government has repeatedly said that with its sincere political will, ICOE is making enquiries into alleged human rights violations in Rakhine State, and if there were any violations, appropriate action would be taken. The government could have been accused of a lack of accountability if no action had been taken when the report was issued.
This move reflects that the government is not turning a blind eye to the accusations. The Final Report from ICOE has yet to be published.
The Myanmar government is sincerely conducting the investigations and enquiries, has the capability to do so, and has taken full responsibility for it.
In fact, the situation in Rakhine State is neither an issue of religious persecution nor of driving a community out of the country. It is a complicated political and economic issue involving cross-border migration, poverty, a lack of the rule of law and security.
The Rakhine State issue can be resolved through bilateral cooperation. But there was no cooperation from Bangladesh in repatriating those who left. Instead, there were behind the back demands to take action against Myanmar or sanction Myanmar. This indicated that Bangladesh has considered the Rakhine issue to simply be business to be conducted.
Bangladesh should not take such actions, since Myanmar has been living peacefully with them, side by side. Even though there were bilateral ministerial level meetings, there were many behind the back statements incorrectly made to the media. Myanmar now holds trilateral meetings to include China as a witness.
Whenever repatriation was planned, demonstrations occurred at the Cox Bazar IDP camps, where widespread killings and illicit drug activities are occurring. Those who wanted to return, dared not propose to do so, which was why 415 returned to Myanmar without publicly announcing their intentions.
If Bangladesh does not cooperate in the repatriation work, the humanitarian crisis will grow. If that occurs, it would be the sole responsibility of Bangladesh.
Our side was ready and prepared for the repatriation process. Bangladesh especially needs to abide by, and cooperate, according to the bilateral agreement. Without this cooperation, the problem will become more complicated.
Bangladesh’s lack of cooperation, as well as criticizing Myanmar’s sincere and strenuous efforts, seems to be prolonging the issue.

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