The fate of the Rohingyas returning to their homeland depends, by all intents and purpose, solely on the future actions of the Myanmar government. Bangladesh proposed Myanmar to directly interact with Rohingyas to assure them about safety and security in Myanmar so that they gain confidence to return. Bangladesh also demanded that the Myanmar government must acknowledge the identity of Rohingyas and recognise them as citizens of Myanmar. These previously standing demands were reiterated again at the fourth meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) of Bangladesh and Myanmar in Naypyidaw on Friday.
The three previous Joint Working Group meetings between Bangladesh and Myanmar made no significant progress in Rohingya repatriation, as Myanmar has not taken any steps like amending its citizenship laws. Holding JWG meetings intermittently is just a waste of time if Myanmar does not amend its citizenship laws and create a congenial environment for the Rohingyas to return. We are illogically expecting the junta that pushed out a people across by torching their properties and killing them brutally will take them back willingly.
Myanmar does not directly deny taking them back but they keep delaying the process for the Rohingyas to return to their homeland. For instance the repatriation was supposed to start on November 15 last year, which never happened. As per the first JWG meeting agreement on January 15, 2018 at Naypyidaw, the repatriation was to be completed preferably within two years of the process starting. But the process is yet to begin due to intervention of the international community fearing for the lives of the Rohingyas.
Bangladesh must insist that as the Myanmar government has created the problem therefore they must resolve it. There has been a consensus in the global community, except one or two countries, that Myanmar has committed genocide in Rakhine state and must not go unpunished. So, Bangladesh should make it clear that the delay in the repatriation will cause trouble for Myanmar. The lingering of the issue will not only affect both countries but also the entire region. Therefore Bangladesh must evolve tougher diplomacy of stronger words and actions to effectively start the repatriation of Rohingyas.