Myanmar readies for returning Rohingyas

25 January, 2018, 02:36 | Author: Kim Reid
  • A makeshift Rohingya settlement at Mewat India on Dec. 27 2017. THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION  Roli Srivastava

Rohingya have erected banners, chanted slogans and staged angry rallies in crowded camps near the border in Cox's Bazar as tension mounts over the looming relocation of hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled a crackdown by the Myanmar military.

The government on Wednesday unveiled to the media, including NHK, a pre-fab immigration facility near its border with Bangladesh.

Myanmar officials and security forces stood near the barb-wired border fence at the transition camp, but Rohingya in Bangladesh said they've seen no major preparation for refugees to return safely to their destroyed homes in the western Myanmar state of Rakhine.

In the sprawling camps that cover the hills south of Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, along the border with Myanmar, many Rohingya say they'll only to return to their obliterated villages if there's strong outside monitoring of their safety and living conditions.

In accordance with the deal on the repatriation reached between the two countries on January 16, Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed to repatriate the refugees under a physical plan starting on Tuesday.

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Myanmar says it's ready for a gradual repatriation.

The two countries have signed an agreement to begin sending people home in "safety, security and dignity", but rights groups have expressed concern about Rohingya returning to villages they left only months ago in terror.

In a statement that pulled few punches, the former USA governor and one-time Suu Kyi ally said he could not in "good conscience" serve on the committee that would likely serve only to "whitewash" the causes behind the Rohingya exodus.

Aung Min said the repatriation process would be carried out five days a week and around 300 people would be accepted in two reception centers each day.

"I support the Rohingyas that's why I did not go". The UN human rights chief has also suggested it may be genocide.

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This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards - to whom quoted text may be attributed - at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Many in Buddhist-majority Myanmar regard the Rohingya as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

The Advisory Board on Rakhine State was set up to implement recommendations regarding the Rohingya, Myanmar's brutally persecuted minority group, that were made by an advisory commission in 2017 - a commission led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annon.

"We are doing our work". Myanmar's social welfare, relief and resettlement minister, Win Myat Aye, said the repatriation would take place over the next two years, "or maybe less". They have been denied citizenship, freedom of movement and other basic rights.

Thaung Tun said Myanmar is now prepared to receive 300 returnees a day and "the number could increase based on the progress of the first batch that will be coming across". It was not possible to independently verify the accounts as Myanmar has heavily restricted access to the area.

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