The safe and dignified repatriation of Rohingyas has been repeatedly delayed despite the long efforts of the Bangladesh government and the international communities.
However, there has been little progress in repatriation activities as donor countries are busy with countering the Covid-19 epidemic, and the Myanmar government is somehow exempted from all kinds of accountability, said officials at the Office of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner.
Cox's Bazar Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Shah Rezwan Hayat said the foreign ministry has been working on Rohingya repatriation. They are preparing them at the field level so that they can respond as soon as the repatriation process starts.
"We are telling Rohingyas that this is not their country. They have to go back to Rakhine. However, the Bangladesh government will not send them unless their rights and security are ensured," he added.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said, "Many Rohingyas had died when the hill collapsed in the camp. Again, many people are involved in various crimes including human trafficking. That is why we are relocating some Rohingyas to Bhasan Char to save their lives. The government wants them to be safe as long as they are in Bangladesh."
The government is trying to arrange a "safe and dignified repatriation" of them, he added.
The government has taken initiative to evacuate one lakh Rohingyas from the Rohingya camp to Bhasan Char. So far, more than 19,000 Rohingyas have been moved to the island.
Gafur Uddin Chowdhury, chairman of the Rohingya-inhabited Palangkhali Union, said, "Rohingyas have become a great problem for us. They are involved in various criminal activities including the drug trade. We are sceptical that the problem will be solved. Some international organisations have created problems in solving the problem for their interests. They are taking advantage of capitalising the issue."
Salamat Khan, who lives in the Kutupalong Madhurachhara camp in Ukhia, said, "In Myanmar, we helped poor with what we had but here [in Bangladesh] we are dependent on others. We are happy here but there is no peace. We do not know what World Refugee Day mean but we demand to the international communities that we want to go back to Myanmar with citizenship and dignity. Our minds are with the graves of our parents and relatives in Rakhine."
Rohingya leader Abdur Rahim said, "Rohingya repatriation has not progressed as the Myanmar government always shuffle various excuses. Besides, the lack of goodwill from the world community and the deadly Covid-19 have put us in such a situation that we are in doubt whether or not we will be able to return to our country at all."
Notably, the arrival of Rohingya started in 1978 and a massive number of them took refuge in Bangladesh. At present, 11,18,557 Rohingyas are staying in 33 camps of Ukhia and Bhasanchar.
June 20 is World Refugee Day. The day has been observed every year since the UN declaration in 2001. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the number of refugees in the world has been increasing in recent times due to various reasons, including war and ethnic conflict. At present, the number of refugees in different countries of the world is about eight crores.