Tuesday, May 21st 2024

ASEAN and Neighboring Countries Embassy Heads Visit Maungdaw to Assess Refugees Readmission Situation

(Lack of Transparency in Military Councils Readmission Process)

Narinjara News March 09, 2023

On March 8, the heads embassies from ASEAN and neighboring countries to Myanmar reportedly visited the Maungdaw region of Rakhine state to assess the issue of accepting the return of Rohingya refugees from Rakhine to Bangladesh.

According to a report from the military councils newspaper, a group of diplomats led by U Ko Ko Hlaing, Deputy Chairman of the Rakhine State Stability and Development Coordination Committee 1 and Union Minister of the Ministry of International Cooperation, visited the Maungdaw region on March 8.

The group included embassy heads and diplomats from ASEAN countries and neighboring nations, including China, India, and Bangladesh.

 During the groups visit, they reportedly inspected the Nga Khu Ra reception center and the Hla Pho Khaung transit camp in Maungdaw township, to observe the conditions of the repatriation process.

 U Maung Ohn, a former representative of Rakhine State Parliament from Maungdaw Township, expressed to Narinjara that the Military Councils approach to refugee repatriation lacked transparency.

There is a lack of transparency. The previous government was not transparent, and I see that the current government is not transparent either. The people have no information about the process. Even the local people are unaware of the nature of the programs and acceptance process that will be carried out, he said.

 He also said that the readmission issue was initiated by the NLD government and was viewed as a political game by the central government.

 U Maung Ohn further analyzed that the likelihood of readmission is minimal, because the Myanmar government is incapable of fulfilling the requirements of refugees coming from across the border.

Until the plans are put into action, its unlikely that many people will return. This is due to the Myanmar governments inability to address the needs of refugees coming from across the border"  he stated.

 According to U Tun Hla Sein, a former representative of the Rakhine State Parliament from Maungdaw Township, the Military Council has not provided any communication to residents, including former MPs from Maungdaw Township, regarding the recent visit of a group led by Union Minister U Ko Ko Hlaing on March 8.

We have no knowledge of such a visit,he stated.

Prior to their visit to Maungdaw on March 8, a group of diplomats from ASEAN countries and neighboring countries, led by Union Minister U Ko Ko Hlaing, convened with Rakhine Chief Minister U Htein Lin at the Rakhine State guest hall in Sittwe.

The United Nations reports that around 700,000 Muslims fled to Bangladesh as a result of the Myanmar militarys clearance operations during the conflict that took place in Maungdaw, Buthidaung, and Rathedaung townships in 2016 and 2017.

Gambia has lodged a case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), alleging that the countrys military forces committed ethnic atrocities against Muslims during the conflict.

Last year, the Myanmar government presented four points to the ICJ, stating that the allegations were false, and requesting that a hearing not be held on the indictment. However, on July 22, 2022, the ICJ dismissed all four points.

In early February, a delegation of Union Ministers, led by Union Minister U Ko Ko Hlaing, visited Sittwe and engaged in a two-day discussion with Rakhine Chief Minister U Htein Lin on the subject of submitting a counter-memorial to the Gambias accusations against Myanmar at the ICJ.


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