Myanmar’s national security adviser on Saturday said the country was willing to take back all Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh if they wish to return, Reuters reported. On Thursday, Myanmar and the United Nations signed an agreement regarding the safe return of Rohingya refugees and by choice.
Nearly 7 lakh Rohingya Muslims have fled Rakhine State in Myanmar to Bangladesh after violence broke out last year. The United Nations and the United States have called it “ethnic cleansing”,
“If you can send back 7,00,000 on a voluntary basis, we are willing to receive them,” Thaung Tun said at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. “Can this be called ethnic cleansing? There is no war going on, so it’s not war crimes. Crimes against humanity, that could be a consideration, but we need clear evidence. These serious charges should be proved and they should not be bandied about lightly.”
National Security Adviser Thaung Tun statement was in response to a question if Responsibility to Protect framework of the United Nations can be used against Myanmar after the violence in Rakhine State. As per the framework, the countries are required to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
The Myanmar official the narrative of what had happened in Rakhine State was “incomplete and misleading”. Thaung Tun said while the military had the right to defend the country, action would be taken against those who have acted illegally.
“Myanmar does not deny that what is unfolding in northern Rakhine is a humanitarian crisis,” he said. “There is no denying that the Muslim community in Rakhine has suffered. The Buddhist Rakhine, Hindu and other ethnic minorities have suffered no less.”
In January, Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to begin repatriating the Rohingya refugees.