Persisting Rohingya crisis may cause uncertainty in the region: Momen
He also suggested that Myanmar engage non-military civilian observers in Rohingya repatriation; to address the trust deficit among the forcibly displaced community
There is a high possibility that the persisting Rohingya crisis may give rise to uncertainty across the region if it is not resolved, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen fears.
"It will frustrate our hope for a peaceful, secure and stable region," he told a ministerial meeting of the 27th Asean Regional Forum (ARF) held virtually on Saturday.
Myanmar can engage non-military civilian observers from its friendly countries in the Rohingya repatriation to cut the trust deficit among the forcibly displaced community for a safe return to their land of origin, Minister Momen suggested.
"In order to ease the trust deficit and build confidence, we suggested Myanmar engage non-military civilian observers from their friendly countries like: members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), China, Russia, India, or others of their choice," he said.
The Bangladesh foreign minister sought the support of ARF partners so that the hapless Rohingyas can return their home–with safety, security and dignity–resettle there, and reintegrate in their society.
Bangladesh is keen to solve the crisis through constructive diplomacy with a good neighbourly spirit, he said, adding that Dhaka, hence, signed three instruments with Myanmar for Rohingya repatriation.
He noted that Myanmar agreed to take back Rohingyas, after verification, and also to create a conducive environment for their voluntary return with safety and security.
"However, unfortunately, till today, no Rohingya has gone back while Myanmar–instead of creating a conducive environment–continues fighting in and shelling Rakhine."
Bangladesh provided shelter to nearly 1.1 million persecuted Rohingyas on a humanitarian ground despite the fact that the displaced community might pose a threat to its economy, ecology and society, Momen went on saying.
There was a deep concern that Covid-19 might seriously affect this large number of refugees in the congested camps but, fortunately, a minimal number have been infected, thanks to multiple targeted initiatives, Momen said.
It is a difficult year for all. But all of humanity has come under the same umbrella in the fight against an invisible enemy called Covid-19 that defies frontiers, Dr Momen said.
He also urged all to walk together in collaboration and partnership to save the earth from the upcoming "planetary emergency" due to climate change.
"We cannot look for a plan 'B' as we have no planet 'B.' We must save this planet," he said.
He said Bangladesh would always support the ARF initiatives regarding terrorism, climate change, irregular movement of people, drug trafficking, and transnational crimes; which can only be addressed through mutual trust and cooperation underpinned by multilateral arrangements.
The ARF meeting was presided over by Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh as the ARF Chair.
Established in 1994, the ARF is an important platform for security dialogue in the Indo-Pacific to enhance peace in the region.