Published: 12:44 AM, 27 January 2018
‘3rd country settlement of Rohingyas very difficult’
The European Union is likely to come up with a more genuine pressure on Myanmar in February so that it acts promptly and creates an environment for the sustainable return of Rohingyas to their homeland from Bangladesh.
“I’m sure there’ll be new (EU) council conclusions on Myanmar in February. I hope there’ll be more pressure. The only thing is to put more pressure on Myanmar,” EU Head of Delegation Ambassador Rensje Teerink told in an interview, reports UNB.
In October last year, the Council of the EU in its conclusions said it may consider additional measures if the situation does not improve but also stands ready to respond accordingly to positive developments. The EU envoy, however, said she is yet to know what the conclusions will contain — whether it will be arms embargo or targeted sanctions on Myanmar government and army.
Ambassador Teerink who arrived here four months back, also said probably there will be more individual targeted sanctions on some of the generals. On Wednes-day, Asean Parliamen- tarians for Human Rights (APHR) on the Rohingya crisis laid emphasis on imposing arms embargo and targeted sanctions on Myanmar and its senior officials respectively to create a safe environment for Rohingyas to return to their homeland from Bangladesh.“I think it’s time to impose an arms embargo on the Myanmar army, including targeted sanctions against the generals who are behind these atrocities,” APHR Chair-person and Malaysian MP Charles Santiago said seeking a role from India, China and Russia who sell arms to Myanmar.
Santiago also sought steps to deploy peacekeeping force to oversee the movement of Rohingyas. He said without the presence of peacekeeping force repatriation will be difficult, in other words, he said, it will be almost impossible. “The repatriation should be safe and voluntary one.”
Giving her second observation on the Rohingya situation, Ambassador Teerink said they can put pressure on the Myanmar government but the question is how they can convince people in Rakhine to welcome Rohingyas. “What we understand the Rakhine people are not very happy to have them (Rohingyas) back. So, you can try and integrate but there is a negative public sentiment. It’s very worrying,” she explained.
The EU Ambassador said they could imagine that many Rohingyas are afraid of going back to Myanmar. The idea is on the Myanmar side is to build a township to welcome returnees, she said recalling the situation of IDP (Internally Displaced Person) camp which has no freedom of movement.
On January 16, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a document on ‘Physical Arrangement’ which will facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland from Bangladesh. The ‘Physical Arrangement’ stipulates that the repatriation will be completed preferably within two years from the start of repatriation.
Asked about the way-out if repatriation process fails and subsequent third-country settlement, the EU Ambassador said, “A third-country settlement is very difficult. We’ve a migration crisis at our doorsteps as well.”Teerink said they are also looking at the OIC but they have not seen much force coming from the OIC that they would be eager to take Rohingyas. “For Europe, it (3rd country settlement) is difficult.” -AA News Desk