Dhaka: The Bangladeshi government has announced that the Burmese government affirmed its intention to take back Burmese nationals sheltering in Bangladesh during a recent bilateral meeting between the two countries, but no confirmation of this has been reported in the Burmese official newspapers.
Official newspapers in their publications on the 28th of August had not published any reports on the issue of Burmese refugees in Bangladesh, despite mentioning many other issues discussed in the recent bilateral meeting with Bangladesh.
“During the consultations, leaders of the two delegations exchanged their views on further strengthening their friendly relations and improving cooperation between the two countries in the areas of trade, agriculture, energy, hydropower, transportation, information and communications technology, culture and tourism as well as cooperation at the UN and other international fora”, reported the Burmese official newspapers in both Burmese and English versions.
The meeting is known as the 5th Annual Foreign Office Consultation Meeting between the two countries and was held on the 25th of August in Burma’s Capital Naypyitaw. The Burmese team was led by the Deputy Foreign Minister U Maung Myint and the Bangladeshi delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Mr. Mohamed Mijarul Quayes.
The Bangladeshi government has put forward the issue of repatriating Burmese refugees, as they are seen as a burden for the Bangladeshi government. However the Burmese government has continually failed to practically respond its counterpart’s repeated proposals on taking back its own nationals, despite making numerous diplomatic promises on the issue in meetings.
A Burmese Muslim refugee from Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar in southeastern Bangladesh said that they do not believe that the Burmese government any willingness to take them back where they are regarded as aliens and denied basic national rights.
“We do not believe that the Burmese regime will take us back with willingly. If we would be repatriated to Burma, we must be recognized as nationals, our lands that were confiscated from us must be returned to us and we must be allowed the right of free travel. Without ensuring those rights, we will not be able to return to our homeland”, said the refugee.
The Burmese Muslim refugee issue has existed unsolved for decades between the two countries due to the unwillingness of the Burmese government to take back the refugees, Moreover the refugees themselves have no desire to return to Burma despite the Bangladeshi government’s unwillingness to shelter them.