While Myanmar has insisted that it is ready to begin the repatriation process to accept the verified displaced people from Bangladesh, it is very upsetting to hear that the Prime Minister of Bangladesh called on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to put pressure on Myanmar to take back the displaced people and ensure their rights and security.
The repatriation forms were to be completed in accordance with the agreement between the two countries. If so, why did Bangladesh fail to fill in the forms of more than 8,000 people? The forms received by Myanmar were not the ones agreed upon by both countries. What came as a complete surprise to Myanmar is that the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister did not know that the forms were not completed in accord with the bilateral agreement until he met with a Myanmar delegation led by the Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement in mid-April.
The displaced people did not produce signed documents stating they were returning of their own free will, and their fingerprints and individual photographs were not included in the documents sent to Myanmar.
This shows that the actions of the Bangladeshi government are not workable for the repatriation process.
We reject the OIC meeting’s Dhaka Declaration as it lacks balance and fairness, and fails to denounce the brutal attacks of the terrorist group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), which triggered the humanitarian situation unfolding today.
Myanmar categorically rejects the irresponsible labelling of “ethnic cleansing” or “State-backed violence” to describe events in Rakhine State. More than 50 per cent of the Muslim community, which represents the majority in Maungtaw region, have remained in their villages.
The term genocide should not be used in the case of Myanmar, nor in other countries, without clear evidence.
We should note that the problems in Rakhine State are long-standing, complicated and sensitive. For Myanmar there are many arduous tasks ahead of us, and this may be considered to be just the beginning of a long journey to bring peace and prosperity to Rakhine State.
Our main strength is cooperation. Rehabilitation is a social and political need.
There is motto which goes: Winning the peace is harder than winning the war.
We would like to urge Bangladesh to take all necessary steps to help the repatriation process in accordance with the bilateral agreement as we are ready to facilitate the dignified return of the displaced persons from Rakhine.
At the same time, we hope that the international community will constructively contribute to our efforts to advance the democratization process and promote and protect human rights in line with the country’s circumstances and needs.