May Allah punish this IDIOT Bangladesh Foreign Secretary and his government for their un-Islamic stands

Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Mohammad Shahidul Haque is blind and un-Islamic because Mr Haque said that he was unaware of anti-Muslim feeling in Myanmar. “I don’t see any anti-Muslim sentiments,” Mr Haque said. May Allah punish this IDIOT and his government for their un-Islamic stands

In-principle agreement on repatriation program

By Tim McLaughlin   |   18 June 2013

Bangladesh’s foreign minister says Myanmar has agreed in principle to restart a long-delayed voluntary repatriation program for Muslim refugees living in the country, although he conceded that it may not eventuate.

Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Mohammad Shahidul Haque said Myanmar and Bangladesh reached an agreement to resume the program during annual foreign office consultations in Nay Pyi Taw from June 12-17.

Past repatriation efforts drew criticism from international human rights groups but Mr Haque insisted the process would be voluntary. Muslim Rohingya refugees would only return “under safe conditions” to Rakhine State, where two outbreaks of violence in the past 12 months between Buddhists and Muslims have left about 200 dead.

“We have encouraged the Myanmar government to restart the process. They have agreed and are   looking for an appropriate time to restart the process,” Mr Haque told The Myanmar Times on June 15.

“We would like to see the Myanmar nationals who are in Bangladesh return under safe conditions, voluntarily, back to their home. They can start a healthy and productive life in their own country,” Mr Haque said.

Though he added that a time frame for the implementation of the process has not yet been agreed upon and was contingent on “many factors.”

Dhaka has been pushing for a resumption of the program since Myanmar refused to extend the original agreement past 2005.

The lack of firm dates and vague language surrounding the commitment does not augur well for the process, which has pitted Myanmar and Bangladesh against each other over where the Muslim Rohingya refugees should be permanently resettled.

Myanmar refuses to recognise the Rohingya as an ethnic group, calling them instead Bengalis and describing them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh who arrived during the British occupation. However, Bangladesh does not recognise the term either – and objected to its use during the interview – insisting instead that they be called “undocumented Myanmar nationals”.

Large numbers of Rohingya entered Bangladesh in 1978 and again in 1991-92, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says. More fled to Bangladesh during clashes in Rakhine State during October and June of last year, although many were turned back.

The repatriation process started following the 1991-92 influx after UNHCR helped broker a deal between Myanmar and Bangladesh.

However, UNHCR pulled out of the program in December 1992 over concerns that there was a lack of security for those returning to Myanmar. It also found cases of forced repatriation and the Bangladesh government blocked its access to refugee camps.

The agency returned the following year when it signed a new agreement with both the Bangladesh and Myanmar governments to monitor repatriations and between mid-1992 and 1997, more than 230,000 Rohingya were repatriated.

But the process stopped completely in July 2005 when the Myanmar government refused to extend the deadline for the original agreement and continued to block some repatriation efforts. Plans to restart it in 2009 but stalled when about 9000 refugees cleared for repatriation refused to return to Myanmar.

Bangladesh estimates there are about 26,000 documented refugees living in two camps in Cox’s Bazar, close to the Myanmar border. Minister for Foreign Affairs Dipu Moni told a session of parliament in June that 300,000 to 500,000 Myanmar refugees have entered the country illegally.

Mr Haque said Bangladesh has also proposed the formation of a joint committee to look for solutions to border issues, with Bangladesh offering to host the first round of meetings. Myanmar is yet to respond to the offer, he said.

While Mr Haque insisted that relations between the two countries are “excellent” and that the situation on the border is “good”, recent developments appear to contradict this, with both sides have recently taken steps to reinforce their positions.

“We have approved, in principle, the proposal to construct a barbed wire [fence] along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, set up searchlights, build watchtowers and 21 new outposts to improve border surveillance,” the Dhaka Tribune quoted Bangladesh Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir as telling parliament on June 10.

He also said the government that there was also a proposal to add two additional battalions of Border Guard Bangladesh forces to the area.

On June 11, the director general of Border Guard Bangladesh, Major General Aziz Ahmed, also accused the Tatmadaw of planting landmines within 100 metres of the border, in violation of international laws.

Mr Haque would not comment directly on Bangladesh’s border security measures but said Dhaka planned to follow the India-Bangladesh border model, which does include security measures.

He also denied any knowledge of the landmine issue and said that the allegations were not discussed during his meetings.

The rise in anti-Muslim sentiment in Myanmar and outbreaks of violence towards the religious minority has drawn international condemnation, most recently from the UN and European Union. It also continues to be a regional concern, with violence spilling into neighboring Malaysia, but Mr Haque said that he was unaware of anti-Muslim feeling in Myanmar.

“I don’t see any anti-Muslim sentiments,” Mr Haque said.

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