World Bank’s recent bid centering Myanmar’s forcibly displaced Rohingya community is unacceptable and certainly ridiculous. According to media reports, World Bank has made seeking Bangladesh to engage in efforts to create provisions for the Rohingyas, now sheltered in Bangladesh, for their purchase, lease and use of housing, land and property the way it is there for Bangladeshis, without restrictions on location, type or duration or at least benefits from the most favorable treatment accorded to a foreign country in the same circumstances. This move clearly proves, World Bank has adopted a nefarious policy of appeasing the Myanmar regime and even it is an attempt of refusing the demand of Rohingyas of their return to their homeland.
Clarifying Dhaka’s position, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said Bangladesh sees Rohingyas as ‘displaced people’ not as ‘refugees’ while the World Bank (WB) announced a global program to integrate refuges in host countries.
“Rohingyas are not refugees here … they are persecuted and displaced people …they are taking shelter here on a temporary basis”.
The foreign minister said Dhaka sticks firm on its stand that the persecuted forcibly displaced Rohingyas must return to their land of origin in Myanmar’s Rakhine.
“Rohingya repatriation is our priority,” he said.
He said there is no chance of integration of Rohingyas into Bangladesh rather Dhaka believes their ‘better future’ would only be possible when they are repatriated to Myanmar.
However, the foreign minister said, some adjustments might be made with the World Bank proposal giving Dhaka’s priority to repatriation of the Rohingyas.
He said that there would be an MoU between the WB and Bangladesh, if the global bank agrees with Dhaka’s proposal of dropping all ideas that do not match with “our own stand that’s (Rohingya) repatriation”.
Bangladesh may rather, as the foreign secretary says, provide the Rohingyas with education and skills training, as is appropriate, commensurate with the need of Myanmar so that that could maintain their livelihood after their repatriation. Bangladesh, which has welcomed the persecuted Rohingyas out of generosity, must not forget that the repatriation of the Rohingyas to Myanmar is the only solution to their plight. Bangladesh authorities, without acting on the impractical move of the World Bank, must redefine its strategy in the light of what has so far happened centering on the issue, including the World Bank move at hand, put in more mettle and redouble efforts for the repatriation of the Rohingyas.
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