UN Disputes Myanmar Rohingya Repatriation Claim

Elias Hubbard
April 17, 2018

It only shows Myanmar's disregard for its repatriation agreement with Bangladesh and for the worldwide condemnation of its acts. But the United Nations and rights groups say the move is dangerously premature.

Although the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights said last week conditions are "not yet conducive for returns to be safe dignified and sustainable", the Myanmar government said Saturday a family of five Rohingya were repatriated.

Myanmar's first repatriation of a minority Rohingya family has been denounced as faked by rights activists and neighboring Bangladesh.

According to UN officials, almost 700,000 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh from Rakhine to escape a military crackdown since August, amid reports of murder, rape and arson by Myanmar troops and Buddhist vigilantes which the United Nations has likened to "ethnic cleansing".

"This is a deception", Rohingya Blogger, a watchdog website run by Rohingya activists, said in a statement.

"I hope Myanmar will take all the Rohingya families back within the shortest possible time", he said. It added that the family members who "are in line with the rules" were issued the National Verification Cards (NVCs) upon entering Myanmar.

The post did not mention plans for further returnees expected in the near future.

Rohingya who have been repatriated in the past after previous refugee exoduses have been forced to live in camps in Myanmar.

During his tour to Bangladesh last week, Win said repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingyas would begin "very soon" as "we have overcome many difficulties". Several thousand Rohingya have been living in the zone since August, crammed into a cluster of tents beyond a barbed-wire fence which roughly demarcates the border zone between the two countries.

It is about time that the worldwide community acknowledges the lack of sincerity on Myanmar's side to solve the Rohingya crisis, a crisis that Myanmar has singlehandedly created.

Bangladesh and Myanmar vowed to begin repatriation in January but the plan has been repeatedly delayed as both sides blame the other for a lack of preparation.

He also held meetings with Bangladesh Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali and the Home Minster which he described to be very fruitful in overcoming "many difficulties in the process of beginning the repatriation process of the Rohingyas".

Myanmar has denied almost all allegations, saying it waged a legitimate counter-insurgency operation. Myanmar has no designation for Rohingya. Myanmar must give back to the Rohingyas taking refuge in Bangladesh, their rightful place in the Rakhine state, with full citizenship rights and the guarantee of their safety and dignity when they go back home. It has systematically dismantled their legal rights and access to basic services in Rakhine, a state where many have lived for generations.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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