Japan offers to mediate Rohingya crisis
Tribune Desk > Published at 11:50 pm July 30th, 2019
Japanese Foreign Minister Tara Kono calls on his Bangladesh counterpart Dr AK Abdul Momen at the state guesthouse Meghna in Dhaka on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 – PID
The Japanese foreign minister will leave for Yangon on Wednesday to talk to the Myanmar leadership over the Rohingya issue
Japan has proposed to play a role as mediator in Tokyo taking Bangladesh and Myanmar onboard to find a peaceful solution to Rohingya crisis ensuring their safe return to their place of origin in Rakhine State. Bangladesh will consider the proposal as it is looking for the resumption of Rohingya repatriation.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen conveyed it to reporters after a bilateral meeting with his Japanese counterpart Tara Kono at the state guesthouse Meghna in Dhaka on Tuesday evening, reports UNB.
Kono will leave for Yangon on Wednesday to talk to the Myanmar leadership over the Rohingya issue. Momen said Kono will convey Bangladesh’s message to Myanmar authorities apart from sharing his own observation.
Bangladesh conveyed to Japan that Japanese investment both in Bangladesh and Myanmar will be affected if the Rohingya crisis remains unresolved for long as he fears pockets of radicalism. The two sides stressed the need for necessary steps to be taken by the Myanmar government to create an environment conducive to the return of the Rohingyas under UN cooperation.
The Japanese foreign minister arrived in Bangladesh on Monday night on a three-day official visit. He visited the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar on Tuesday morning to see the situation on the ground and had a brief dialogue with the Rohingya representatives in a transit camp to understand their perspective.
At the bilateral meeting later in the day, the two ministers also discussed bilateral issues with a greater focus on the Rohingya crisis and strengthening further the ties with Bangladesh on all fronts. Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas. For their repatriation, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a deal on November 23, 2017.
On January 16, 2018, the countries also signed a document on “Physical Arrangement,” which was supposed to facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland preferably within two years. The first batch of Rohingyas was scheduled to return on November 15 last year, but it was halted amid unwillingness of Rohingyas to return for lack of a congenial environment in Rakhine.
‘Rohingya flow still continues’
Meanwhile, Law Minister Anisul Huq on Tuesday told the United Nation that the flow of Rohingyas into Bangladesh, albeit low, still continues. He gave the information to the UN Committee against Torture while submitting a report, which highlighted Bangladesh’s two priority sectors — protecting human rights and providing shelter to forcibly displaced Rohingyas in the country, reports UNB.
A 19-member delegation, including senior secretary to the Law Ministry, the foreign secretary and permanent representative of Bangladesh to UN, had accompanied him to the UN office.
Anisul said: “We’ve opened our border to 700,000 Rohingyas [since August 2017] and allocated over 6,000 acres of forest land allowing environmental degradation and social instability in the area for sheltering them for the sake of humanity in 2016.”
As a host to 1.1 million Rohingyas, he said, Bangladesh maintained the principle of non-refoulement, despite significant resource constraints and challenges.
The report submitted by Bangladesh to the UN committee was prepared in accordance with procedural obligations under the Convention against Torture. The country became a state party to the Convention on October 5, 1998 through accession.
Anisul in the report focused on three aspects of the Convention – legal, administrative and judicial actions taken by the government for implementing the Convention. The minister in the report marked two priority sectors — curbing violence against women and children and the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals from Rakhine State — for Bangladesh. Additional Reporting by Abdul Aziz from Cox’s Bazar