Bangladesh delegation to visit Rakhine State

By Mutasim Billah

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) – A Bangladesh delegation will leave Dhaka for Myanmar’s Rakhine state on Thursday to ensure the safe and sustainable return of the forcibly displaced Rohingya,

The Rohingya Muslims have been fleeing from Myanmar to Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar since August last year.

Members of the Joint Working Group (JWG) along with Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque will also accompany Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali; sources at the Foreign Ministry confirmed this to Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

Earlier, Md Shahidul Haque said: “The Myanmar government has taken different initiatives that they have told the world community. However, we want to see the situation in the flesh. Hence, the JWG team, led by the foreign minister, will go to northern Rakhine state.”

This will mark the first opportunity for a Bangladeshi delegation to monitor the overall situation in Rakhine State, according to Bangladeshi sources added.

“We will examine and bring a briefing on what they have done to create a conducive environment; what kind of houses they have built, what is their arrangement for businesses, land [ownership] and rights of the Rohingya people who will return, as if we could describe this here [to the Rohingya people],” said the foreign secretary.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, some 750,000 Rohingya, mostly children and women, have fled to neighboring Bangladesh after Myanmar forces began a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to Amnesty International.

At least 9,400 Rohingya were killed in Myanmar's Rakhine State from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, 2017, according to Doctors Without Borders.

In a report published last December, the global humanitarian group said the deaths of 71.7 percent, or 6,700 Rohingya, were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attacks since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.