World News

Return of two thousand Rohingyas of Bangladesh in Myanmar

Return of two thousand Rohingyas of Bangladesh in Myanmar

YANGON-The repatriation of ethnic Rohingya Muslims from Bangladesh, to which more than 700,000 fled since previous year to escape deadly violence carried out by Myanmar's security forces, will begin this week, top Myanmar officials said Sunday.

The two governments on November 15 agreed on repatriation of 2,251 of around 723,000 Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh camps, in the first part of a phased process, reports Efe news.

Myanmar's Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Minister came here on Sunday, saying, "Whether Rohingyas have to return or not, this is dependent on Bangladesh".

Urging Myanmar to play a constructive role in resolving the Rohingya issue, the U.S. said the country should address the root causes of the crisis in the Rakhine state and provide access to a transparent and efficient citizenship verification process, freedom of movement and access to livelihoods to the minority Muslims. Instead of lending any support, worldwide media and rights groups alleged that the Myanmar has bulldozed over the site of a Rohingya mass grave to destroy evidence of a massacre committed by the military.

Myanmar and Bangladesh signed the deal in November 2017 but the United Nations has repeatedly said that any repatriations must be "safe, dignified and voluntary".

The governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh initially planned to begin the repatriation in January of this year.

A total of 42 aid agencies and NGOS said this week that Rohingya in the camps in Bangladesh were "terrified" about the prospect of coming back. She said knows that Bangladesh won't allow the refugees to remain forever, but she was adamant that she won't return to her home country. "But instead, they were intimidated and fled to other camps", said Nur Islam, from Jamtoli refugee camp.

More news: Firefighters battle blazes on two fronts in California, 44 dead

More than 1 million Rohingya, a minority Muslim community which the UNHCR considers stateless, have fled Myanmar in different waves of migration since the end of the 20th century. They say soldiers and local Buddhists massacred families, burned hundreds of villages and carried out gang rapes.

Myanmar authorities have constructed a number of receiving centres in Rakhine state, from where the Rohingya fled past year after a military campaign, described by the United Nations as "ethnic cleansing" with elements of genocide.

While the governments prepare for repatriation, the refugees themselves have expressed deep concern about their safety in Myanmar.

Under the agreement, Myanmar will take back 2,000 Rohingya Muslims from Bagladesh in the first batch, which will be followed by a second batch. Myanmar authorities should allow these refugees to undertake such go-and-see visits without prejudice to their right to return at a later date, if indeed the refugees decide after the visits that the current conditions in Rakhine State would not allow them to return in safety and dignity.

The first group of about 2251 people will reach the two transit centers through the boat.

Returnees would only be allowed to travel within Maungdaw township, one of the three they fled, and only if they accepted National Verification Cards, an identity document most Rohingya reject because they say it brands them as foreigners.

Survivors brought with them testimony of widespread murder, rape, torture and arson and are fearful of going back to Rakhine State without guarantees of safety, freedom of movement and citizenship.