Skepticism over Myanmar’s stated willingness to repatriate Rohingya

In this file photo taken on October 16, 2017 Rohingya refugees carry a woman over a canal after crossing the Naf River as they flee violence in Myanmar to reach Bangladesh in Palongkhali near Ukhia. (AFP photo)
Updated 05 June 2018
0

Skepticism over Myanmar’s stated willingness to repatriate Rohingya

  • Rohingya refugees have also expressed skepticism over the statement
  • Former Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Shomsher Mobin Chowdhury said the world has not seen any evidence of Myanmar’s sincerity

DHAKA: Bangladeshi diplomats and analysts have expressed skepticism over a statement on Saturday by Myanmar’s National Security Adviser Thaung Tun that his country is willing take back all 700,000 Rohingya refugees if they return voluntarily.
Rohingya refugees have also expressed skepticism over his statement: “If you can send back 700,000 on a voluntary basis, we are willing to receive them.”
Muhib Ulla, a refugee in Kutupalang camp in Bangladesh, said: “We want to go back, but before that Myanmar authorities should ensure our citizenship of the country. They have to allow us free movement.”
Refugee Selim Mollah said: “We don’t want any more camp life after going back to Rakhine state, and our livelihoods should be guaranteed.”
Former Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Shomsher Mobin Chowdhury said the world has not seen any evidence of Myanmar’s sincerity regarding repatriation.
“They’re making this type of statement because of diplomatic pressure from other countries,” he told Arab News.
Bangladesh should refer Myanmar’s persecution of the Muslim Rohingya minority to the International Criminal Court (ICC), he said.
Imtiaj Ahmed, a professor of international relations at Dhaka University, concurred that Myanmar is only making such a statement due to international pressure.


New Zealand orders top-level inquiry into mosque massacres

Updated 25 March 2019
0

New Zealand orders top-level inquiry into mosque massacres

  • "One question we need to answer is whether or not we could or should have known more," Ardern said
  • Ardern ruled out New Zealand re-introducing the death penalty for accused gunman Brenton Tarrant

WELLINGTON: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday ordered an independent judicial inquiry into whether police and intelligence services could have prevented the Christchurch mosque attacks on March 15.
Ardern said a royal commission -- the most powerful judicial probe available under New Zealand law -- was needed to find out how a single gunman was able to kill 50 people in an attack that shocked the world.
"It is important that no stone is left unturned to get to how this act of terrorism occurred and how we could have stopped it," she told reporters.
New Zealand's spy agencies have faced criticism in the wake of the attack for concentrating on the threat from Islamic extremism.
Instead, the victims were all Muslims and the massacre was allegedly carried out by a white supremacist fixated on the belief that there was an Islamist plot to "invade" Western countries.
"One question we need to answer is whether or not we could or should have known more," Ardern said.
"New Zealand is not a surveillance state ... but questions need to be answered."
Ardern ruled out New Zealand re-introducing the death penalty for accused gunman Brenton Tarrant, 28, who was arrested minutes after the attack on the mosques and has been charged with murder.
She said details of the royal commission were being finalised, but it would be comprehensive and would report in a timely manner.
It will cover the activities of intelligence services, police, customs, immigration and any other relevant government agencies in the lead-up to the attack.
The gunman livestreamed the attack online, although New Zealand has outlawed the footage as "objectionable content".
Ardern reiterated her believe it should not be aired.
"That video should not be shared. That is harmful content," she said when questioned about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan showing excerpts of the footage at campaign rallies for local elections this month.
Erdogan had angered both Wellington and Canberra with campaign rhetoric about anti-Muslim Australians and New Zealanders being sent back in "coffins" like their grandfathers at Gallipoli, a World War I battle.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters travelled to Istanbul to meet Erdogan and address an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Peters said OIC members were full of praise for the support New Zealand had offered its small, tight-knit Muslim community in the wake of the killings.
"A number of them were weeping and sobbing at the demonstration (of support) by non-Muslim New Zealand towards the Muslim victims," he told reporters.
"It was dramatic and I was told by countless ministers that they've never seen anything of that type."
The body of an Indian student killed in the Christchurch mosque attacks, meanwhile, was returned Monday to her grieving family in Kochi, where relatives remembered a bright young woman dedicated to her studies.
Ansi Alibava, 25, was the first of at least five Indians shot dead on March 15 to be repatriated.
The family planned to hold a funeral ceremony for the masters student in their nearby hometown of Kodungallur.