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
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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 opens gun buyback after mosque killings

Updated 20 June 2019
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New Zealand opens gun buyback after mosque killings

  • New Zealand applied stricter gun lows three months after the incident
  • Licensed gun owners have six months to surrender newly outlawed weapons

WELLINGTON: New Zealand opened a gun buyback scheme Thursday aimed at ridding the country of semi-automatic weapons similar to those used in the Christchurch mosque attacks that killed 51 Muslim worshippers.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern vowed in the hours after the March 15 killings that New Zealand’s gun laws would be tightened and her government has expedited the change in just three months.
“The buyback and amnesty has one objective — to remove the most dangerous weapons from circulation following the loss of life at Al-Noor and Linwood mosques,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said.
The Australian man accused of the killings, Brenton Tarrant, is alleged to have used an arsenal of five weapons, including two military style semi-automatic rifles (MSSAs), in the attacks on two Christchurch mosques.
Lawmakers voted to outlaw MSSAs, which allow the rapid fire of high-calibre bullets, by a margin of 119-1 in the wake of the worst massacre in modern New Zealand history.
Licensed firearms owners will have six months to surrender weapons that have now been deemed illegal under the scheme, with an amnesty ensuring they will not face prosecution during that period.
After the amnesty expires, possession of a prohibited firearms is punishable by up to five years in jail.
Compensation will be based on the model and condition of the firearm, with the total cost of the scheme estimated at $143 million.
That includes $11.9 million toward administration costs for what Nash said was “a huge logistical exercise.”
He said police knew of 14,300 registered MSSA rifles and there were an estimated 1.2 million firearms in the community, with the vast majority still legal under the new rules.
Police said they were organizing “collection events” around the country where firearms owners could submit their weapons.
Tarrant last week pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges, as well as 51 counts of murder and 40 of attempted murder.
He was committed to stand trial in May next year.