Bangladesh, Myanmar plan Rohingya repatriation in 2 years


The foreign minister highly appreciated the strong support the OIC countries extended to Bangladesh in coping with the influx of tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar's Rakhine State, the High Commission said.

Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed on a repatriation process for the refugees arriving in Bangladesh, which is expected to start next week.

Many have questioned whether Rohingya would return to Burma under the current circumstances. Our experiences on the ground tell us that it is unlikely that Rohingya refugees will leave camps in Bangladesh if they face uncertainty about whether they or their families will be subjected to violence, abuse, and rape back in Myanmar.

Communal tension between the Buddhist Rakhine population and Muslim Rohingya has risen sharply in recent years.

"No terrorist outfit is allowed to operate from Bangladesh and jeopardise the security interest of our neighbours, including India", Ali said while addressing the Raisina Dialogue.

Refugees are homesick, but they are unwilling to return as congenial atmosphere has not been created yet for safe and voluntary repatriation with dignity and honour, the statement said.

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Since Aug. 25, 2017, some 650,000 refugees, mostly children and women, fled Myanmar when Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to the UN.

"The agreement stigmatizes the Rohingya people as would-be terrorists and includes unrealistic demands that these people, who fled for their lives with no possessions, show proof of residency to the very government that denied them of their citizenship, making it hard for them to believe that they will be protected upon returning home".

The all-party worldwide development select committee also urged British ministers to "reflect on why so much evidence of discrimination, marginalisation, and abuse of the Rohingya people in Myanmar was seemingly ignored for so long, rather than translated into effective action by the global community".

Officials plan to start the repatriation process from January 23.

Since the November agreement, Myanmar's civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi has pledged to take measures to halt the outflow of Rohingya to Bangladesh and restore normalcy in the Rakhine region.

US-based Human Rights Watch said the discussions between Myanmar and Bangladesh failed to include any understanding of what the Rohingya want. It would be the first camp built in the repatriation process.