Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Myanmar agrees to resettle 6000 stranded Rohingya refugees

Dr Hassan Yahya general surgeon examining a Rohingya baby in a temporary clinic in Tangkali camp                  Physicians Across Continents Dr Hassan Yahya general surgeon examining a Rohingya baby in a temporary clinic in Tangkali camp Physicians Across Continents
Melinda Barton | 22 February, 2018, 01:07

"There was a dispute about who will verify them. We said that is the duty of Myanmar as they have not entered Bangladesh", he said.

Bangladesh security forces have been instructed not to let those Rohingya cross the border, and many of them have said they would rather stay there to avoid becoming refugees in Bangladesh.

Myanmar will take back the around 7,000 Rohingyas, who have been staying in the no man's land adjacent to the Bangladeshi village of Konapara in Bandarban since they fled their homes in Rakhine following atrocities that began late August past year.

United Nations refugee chief Filippo Grandi told the Security Council last Tuesday that conditions aren't right for Rohingya to voluntarily return because Myanmar hasn't addressed their exclusion and denial of rights.

Despite the ongoing preparations for repatriation, more than 2,500 Rohingyas have crossed into Bangladesh this year.

Last Friday, Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan gave a list of 8,032 Rohingya refugees to his Myanmar counterpart to begin repatriations.

"The Myanmar side cordially accepted the list, and they sought our help to make it happen", Khan told reporters.

Bangladesh did not need to register them like the other Rohingya refugees - some 700,000, who have fled violence in Rakhine since late August a year ago and over 300,000 who fled during earlier waves of violence. The two made a decision to send a mission to the border strip on Tuesday. "Now it's up to them to confirm their identity and residency and start repatriation", Khan told the media.

"They often fire blanks", he said. "No specific timeframe has been decided yet when they will start returning".

Under the agreement, Bangladesh will provide Myanmar with the initial documentation of those to be repatriated.

Myanmar has expressed its eagerness to welcome back the refugees and have even deployed several personnel in northern Rakhine town to process the returnees.

Abedin also quoted Kyaw Swe as saying that Myanmar will implement the recommendations of a commission led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to improve conditions in Rakhine state, where the refugees previously lived.

The military and Buddhist mobs launched retaliatory attacks on Rohingya that were termed "clearance operations". According to government statistics, an average of 75 Rohingya refugees fled their villages in Myanmar every day between January 1 and February 15.

Buddhist-majority Myanmar denied the charge and says its security forces are fighting a legitimate campaign against "terrorists" it blames for the attacks on the security forces. The United Nations and the U.S. have described the army crackdown as "ethnic cleansing".

A spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which will not be involved in the talks, said the agency was concerned the Rohingya may be forcibly returned toMyanmar without due consideration for their safety. Almost all have been denied citizenship since 1982, effectively rendering them stateless.

Meanwhile, diplomatic missions in Myanmar have urged the Myanmar authorities to address the underlying problems including security, freedom of movement, access to livelihoods, health and education and citizenship, reports UNB.