The United Nations Human Rights Council finally passed a resolution calling on Myanmar to immediately repatriate Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation placed the resolution at the initiative of Bangladesh during the 50th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. There has been almost no progress in the repatriation of Rohingya, with more than 600,000 having fled violence by Myanmar security forces to safety in Bangladesh since August 2017, to which are added some 350,000 who were living already here since the late 1970s, now housed in camps in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char. Bangladesh’s Minister of State for Disaster Management and Relief earlier said the number of Rohingya here had increased due to the birth of 120,000 children after the 2017 influx. The UN council expressed concern over reports of serious rights violations and abuses in Myanmar, in particular against Rohingya Muslims and other minorities, and reiterated the call for accelerated investigations into abuses sex, torture and all other crimes against humanity committed in Myanmar and the detention of the perpetrators. reporting at national, regional and international levels. This appears to be a welcome move as repatriation efforts have failed, mainly due to Myanmar’s reluctance to create an atmosphere in Rakhine conducive to a sustainable Rohingya return.
Although the United Nations Human Rights Council has requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to monitor and follow up on the implementation of the recommendations made by the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission, the current decision is far from adequate, especially in the context of Myanmar authorities have continued to create a chilling situation in Rakhine State in an attempt to delay and, apparently, evade the process. In this case, the UN council also faced opposition from Western countries on the grounds that repatriation was only possible if the ongoing political crisis was over. Such a situation calls on Western countries and regional and international forums, including the United Nations, to pressure Myanmar to stop creating a scary situation for Rohingyas hosted in Bangladesh to voluntarily return to Myanmar. Earlier efforts failed twice on August 22, 2019 under an agreement signed on January 16, 2018 and on November 15, 2018 under an agreement signed on November 23, 2017, mainly due to the frightening situation in Myanmar. and not a single Rohingya has been repatriated. through the channel that Myanmar has agreed with Bangladesh through three bilateral agreements. Myanmar, the United Nations Development Program and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees signed a Memorandum of Understanding on June 6, 2018 aimed at creating an enabling environment in Myanmar. The memorandum was renewed twice, in May 2019 and June 2020, extending the cooperation until June 2021, but no progress was made. UN agencies attempted to renew the agreement for the third time, but this did not happen due to Myanmar’s reluctance.
Relevant UN agencies and the global community must therefore play their part in the repatriation of the Rohingyas while Bangladesh must press the issue in regional and international forums.