The second phase of talks between a high-level delegation from Myanmar and Rohingya representatives ended in Bangladesh with a deadlock on citizenship rights.
"They [Myanmar government] have still not agreed to amend the controversial 1982 Citizenship Law to provide citizenship rights to Rohingya and they want us to return as new migrants or newcomers," said one of the 35 Rohingya representatives who took part in the dialogue on condition of anonymity.
The two-day dialogue between the Myanmar delegation, led by its Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary U Myint Thu, and representatives of the Rohingya, was held in Bangladesh's southern Cox's Bazar district Saturday. The three-hour-long meeting on the first day of dialogue ended without any breakthrough. The talks continued yesterday for another three-and-a-half hours, but no agreement could be reached on citizenship rights.
Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh refuse to return to Myanmar unless they are recognized as an ethnic group in their home country, leaders told visiting Myanmar officials yesterday as fresh repatriation talks started. In November, a formal move to begin the repatriation process stalled as no Rohingya agreed to return to Myanmar. The U.N. refugee agency and aid groups are also doubtful about the plan as they fear for the safety of Rohingya in Myanmar.
Rohingya Muslims are the most persecuted minority in the world according to U.N. figures and continue to suffer from oppression under the Myanmar government, the army and Buddhist extremists. The Myanmar government has long been accused of genocide against the minority Muslim Rohingya community in western Rakhine State.