'B'desh-Myanmar talks should lead to return of Rohingyas'
Washington: The talks between governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar should lead to voluntary return of Rohingya Muslims back to the Rakhine State, a senior US diplomat has said.
The diplomat had recently led a high-level US delegation to Myanmar and Bangladesh, where he visited refugees camps and met officials. He had described the situation on the ground as "serious" and the scale of problem as "immense".
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is scheduled to visit Myanmar early next week to hold talks with both the civilian and military officials.
Since August, more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have landed in neighbouring Bangladesh due to alleged atrocities by the security forces in Myanmar's Rakhine State.
Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries of the world, has gone out of the way to provide shelter and humanitarian assistance to these Rohingya refugees. A move which was appreciated by the governments and the humanitarian and relief organisations from across the world. Given the strain that the refugees crisis has been putting on its economy, the Bangladesh government has been in talks with the government of Myanmar for the return of the refugees.
"I am not going to comment on the relations between the two countries other than to say that we support their talks and they have already held and further talks on solving the Rohingya issue," Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Simon Henshaw told reporters during a teleconference with South Asian media this week.
Meanwhile, Myanmar soldiers "systematically targeted" Rohingya women for gang-rape during violence against the minority Muslim community which triggered an exodus to Bangladesh, an UN special envoy said on Sunday. Pramila Patten, a special representative of the UN Secretary-General on sexual violence in conflict, made the comments after visiting Bangladesh's southeastern district of Cox's Bazar.