India supports Bangladesh’s plan to start the repatriation of Rohingya refugees and urges the international community to support the process.
“You have to start the process. What the ministry of foreign affairs is doing is definitely in the right direction,” Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Sunday after attending a briefing by Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali.
“I think it is important for the international community to contribute to the process of facilitating that return by doing things which will help them to return,” he said.
His comments came amid criticism about the plans of the two governments to start the refugee repatriation to Myanmar.
Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla, File Photo
More than 650,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh after the Myanmar military cracked down in the northern part of Rakhine in response to militant attacks on security forces on Aug 25.The United Nations described the operation as ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, which Myanmar denies.
The government is set to start the repatriation process by Jan 23.
The Indian High Commissioner said he had “felicitated” to the government of Bangladesh for concluding instruments necessary for Rohingyas’ return to the Rakhine State.
He said India is also helping in the repatriation process by creating conditions in the Rakhine State.
“We have always believed that there should be sustainable development to the Rakhine State in order to create environment to which displaced persons can go back.”
For that, Shringla said, India has signed Rakhine development programme in the line with the recommendations of the Kofi Annan advisory commission report to facilitate socio-economic development.
“Essentially we are trying to do to facilitate the repatriation of refugees and creating environment sustainable for the return and restore of normalcy in the Rakhine State.”
“In order to do so, we are working on the ground by constructing low-cost houses so that government can accommodate repatriated Rohingya displaced persons and we believe the repatriation should take place as soon as possible because it is important that people go back to their home. It is important that international community should contribute to that process.”
Asked about the concerns expressed by the international community, the High Commissioner said: “You have to work with all concerns to create the situation that is necessary. There is no point of saying situation is not correct and no one should go back”.
He said they are working with the Myanmar government so that when they go back they have homes to stay and livelihood for their future.
He said there are many things to do in the medium and long term.
But he said, in the meantime, the repatriation should start as Bangladesh is also under lot of pressure with those population fled Rakhine State.