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The Financial Express

Bangladesh rejects WB proposal for Rohingya integration with host communities for financial support

| Updated: September 18, 2021 12:58:15


Bangladesh rejects WB proposal for Rohingya integration with host communities for financial support

Bangladesh formally disapproved of World Bank proposals for Rohingya integration with host communities and said the global lender should take doable steps consulting host nations on such matters, officials said Wednesday.

The government also decided not to take financial support from the WB as a swap, terming its (WB's) newly framed 'Refugee Policy Review Framework (RPRF)' -- meant for the host communities across the globe -- repugnant to Bangladesh laws.

A letter was recently sent to the World Bank, stating that it is difficult to comply with the WB-framed refugee framework as that is contradictory with the country's own rules and regulations, the sources said.

The Economic Relations Division (ERD) in its letter informed the WB about Bangladesh's reservations on some of the provisions of the Bank's refugee framework as Dhaka does not believe it applies to Myanmar's forcibly displaced Rohingya sheltered here.

"We have informed the WB about the country's observations regarding the framework. Bangladesh does not support some clauses of the WB framework," says a senior Ministry of Finance (MoF) official.

The debate on Rohingya framework emerged when the WB sought opinion from Bangladesh on the newly framed refugee framework which advocates for integration of refugees into the host country.

The Washington-based lender in its framework has incorporated provisions of some legal rights and privileges to refugees, including social and economic integration into the host countries, right to work and business, freedom of movement, land ownership and access to education and employment etc.

Bangladesh is harbouring about 1.1 million Rohingya minority people of Myanmar who had fled decades of persecution over there and a brutal military crackdown in 2017 that triggered the fastest-evolving refugee crisis in the world.

When asked, a MoF official told the FE that before sharing government's formal opinion, the ERD had taken opinions from different ministries and divisions about WB's RPRF.

If the WB does not allow Bangladesh in accessing funds from its 'IDA-19 Window for the Host Communities and Refugees', the country won't mind as it has already been taking care of the Rohingya with its current capability, he added.

The Washington-based lender had announced some US$2.2 billion worth of funds for the 'Window for Refugees and Host Communities' over the next three years.

"The relation with the WB will not be affected. Bangladesh is one of the largest borrowers of IDA funds. As earlier, we will be taking funds from the IDA and other windows of the Washington-based lender for its infrastructure development to cut poverty," he opined.

Bangladesh wants to see the Rohingya back to their homeland and hopes the neighbour, Myanmar, would help to do that, he added.

An agreed process of their repatriation to their homes in Rakhine, under a China-mediated bilateral deal between Bangladesh and Myanmar, has long been stalled for alleged procrastination on the other side.

The issue landed in the international courts and hearings were held.

And mid the stalemate now comes the World Bank move for keeping the camp-dwellers in the host country, which itself is overpopulated.

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