Published: Thu, August 22, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Rohingya refugees shun Myanmar return

Rohingya refugees shun Myanmar return

"We have not found anybody yet who has agreed to go back, but all our preparations are in place", he said.

"We have been waiting since 9:00 am (0300 GMT) to take any willing refugees for repatriation", Khaled Hossain, a Bangladesh official in charge of the Teknaf refugee camp, told AFP after over an hour of waiting.

SULLIVAN: Robertson says it's clear that the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are still communicating with those left behind in Myanmar, many of them in camps for internally displaced persons.

Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Md Abul Kalam said that the Bangladesh authorities made all the necessary arrangements but none of the Rohingyas were willing to return on their own volition, bdnews24.com reported.

For the past two years, national and worldwide organisations have assisted the Government of Bangladesh and United Nations agencies to effectively provide life-sustaining support to refugees in the world's largest refugee camp.

The Rohingya are not recognized as an official minority by the Myanmar government, which considers them Bengali interlopers despite many families having lived in Rakhine for generations.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.

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"The government of Myanmar has not met the conditions necessary to ensure voluntary, safe and dignified return of Rohingya refugees and the protection of their rights, including equal access to citizenship".

"Many Rohingya have said that they would like to return to Myanmar so long as they don't suffer the same abuse, indignities, and atrocities they have endured in the past", Ganguly said.

"The voluntary nature of repatriation is really a bedrock of our position", he said. Thousands of refugees protested and chanted "We won't go back" and "We want justice", forcing authorities to halt the process.

A UN-established investigation a year ago recommended the prosecution of Myanmar's top military commanders on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for the crackdown on the Rohingya. The two countries signed a repatriation deal on November 23, 2017, but there has been little progress.

Nevertheless, Ramzan Begum said her mother-in-law fled the camp home for an unknown destination on Wednesday night and had not returned by Thursday. This has rendered them stateless, and they face other forms of state-sanctioned discrimination.

Although many Rohingya can trace their ancestry in Myanmar back centuries, they are widely denigrated in the country as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

"Myanmar has yet to address the systematic persecution and violence against the Rohingya, so refugees have every reason to fear for their safety if they return", Human Rights Watch said Thursday. "The Government of Myanmar categorically rejects the latest report and its conclusions".

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