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Bangla-Myanmar talks should lead to return of Rohingya: US

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

The talks between governments of and Myanmar should lead to voluntary return of Rohingya Muslims back to the Rakhine State, a senior US diplomat has said.

The diplomat had recently led a high-level US delegation to Myanmar and Bangladesh, where he visited refugees camps and officials. He had described the situation on the ground as "serious" and the scale of problem as "immense".


US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is scheduled to visit Myanmar early next week to hold talks with both the civilian and military officials.

Since August, more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have landed in neighbouring due to alleged atrocities by the security forces in Myanmar's Rakhine State.

Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries of the world, has gone out of the way to provide shelter and humanitarian assistance to these Rohingya refugees. A move which was appreciated by the governments and the humanitarian and relief organisations from across the world.

Given the strain that the refugees crisis has been putting on its economy, the government has been in talks with the government of Myanmar for the return of the refugees.

"I am not going to comment on the relations between the two countries other than to say that we support their talks and they have already held and further talks on solving the Rohingya issue," Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Simon Henshaw told reporters during a teleconference with South Asian media this week.

"We believe these talks should lead to voluntary return of Rohingya people back to Rakhine state. The conditions in Rakhine state must be made secure and stable so that people are willing to return and that people should be able to return to their land and that this process involve political reconciliation inside Rakhine State," he said.

"On the actions of the Bangladeshi government, we much appreciate them and praise the effort they've made to deal with this huge number of people coming into their country," he said, adding that the American delegation spoke with a number of different ministries when they were there.

In Myanmar, the delegation with government officials, Rohingya and ethnic Rakhine community leaders including a visit to a camp for people who have been internally displaced.

"We urge the Myanmar government to act to restore the rule of law, protect local populations and investigate alleged human rights abuses and violations and to hold those responsible, accountable," he said.

The official welcomed the government's plans for repatriation and encouraged them to implement a peace plan soon as possible emphasising the importance of creating safe conditions that would allow refugees to voluntarily return to their villages.

The US delegation, during its visit to Bangladesh, had with government officials, international organisation and NGOSs and visited refugee camps near Coxes Bazaar, which he said was so shocking.

"The scale of the refugee crisis is immense. More than 600,000 people displaced from their homes since August 25th and the conditions here conditions are tough with people still in makeshift tents and shelters as far as the eye can see," he said.

"People were suffering. Many refugees told us through tears accounts of seeing their villages burned their relatives kill in front of them. Some of them recalled being shot at as they fled. Despite this trauma many expressed a strong desire to return to their homes in Burma provided that their safety security and rights could be guaranteed," Henshaw said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, November 12 2017. 17:22 IST
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