COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh – About 1,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees demonstrated on Thursday in a camp in Bangladesh against plans to…
COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh – About 1,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees demonstrated on Thursday in a camp in Bangladesh against plans to repatriate them to Myanmar, from which hundreds of thousands fled military-led violence last year.
In the Unchiprang camp of the fighting refugees near Coxs Bazar, a refugee officer from Bangladesh asked that Rohingya would return to his country over a speaker.
“We have arranged everything for you, we have six buses here, we have trucks, we want to offer everything to you. If you agree to go, we will take you to the border with the transit camps,” he said. 19659004 “We will not go!” Hundreds of voices, including children, responded.
Bangladeshi authorities said repatriation of some of the more than 700,000 Rohingya would start on Thursday if people were willing to leave, despite talks from UN officials and human rights groups would hold. But it is not clear if there are any volunteers.
Refugee Commissioner Abul Kalam refused to say what Bangladesh authorities would do if refugees refused to leave, but according to a UN-affiliated deal with Bangladesh and Myanmar, Rohingya can not forced
“If they agree, we will take them to the transit camp and give them three days of food value before being handed over to the Myanmar authorities,” he said.
The huge exodus of Rohingya began in au Gusti, after Myanmar Security forces launched a brutal crackdown following attacks by a rebel group on guard posts. The operation scale, organization and speed led to accusations from the international community, including the UN, ethnic cleansing and genocide.
Most of the Buddhist majority of Myanmar do not accept that the Rohingya Muslims are an indigenous ethnic group, considering them as “Bengalis” illegally from Bangladesh, although the generations Rohingya have lived in Myanmar. Almost everyone has been denied citizenship since 1
982, as well as access to education and hospitals.
Despite insurances from Myanmar, human rights activists said Thursday that the conditions are not yet certain for Rohingya refugees to return.
Myanmar government has said or suggested suggesting that Rohingya will be safe on return, “Human Rights Watch, Refugee Director Bill Frelick said in a statement.
The group said that 150 people from 30 families had already been taken to a transit camp in preparation for their return.
Bangladeshi authorities have said they have worked with the UN Refugee Agency to compile lists of people willing to return to Myanmar.
In the refugee camp Jamtoli, 25-year-old Setara told her and her two children aged 4 and 7 were on a repatriation list, but her parents were not. She said she had never asked to return to Myanmar and that she had sent her children to a school led by auxiliaries on Thursday morning as usual
“They killed my husband, now I live here with my parents,” said Setara, who just gave a name. “I do not want to go back.”
She said other refugees whose names have appeared on the Bangladesh government’s repatriation list had fled to other camps and hoped they would disappear among refugees, aid workers and Bangladeshi soldiers.
Repatriation negotiations have been in progress for several months, but are planning in January, to start moving back to Myanmar’s Rakhine state was interfered with concern among aid workers and Rohingya that their return would face violence.
Foreign leaders, including Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, have criticized Myanmar’s Nobel Peace Prize winning leader Aung San Suu Kyi this week on the side of a summit in the South East Asian Federation of Singapore for her management of the Rohingya crisis.
But on Thursday, Pence said that US officials were “encouraged to hear it”, the repatriation process should begin.
In addition to those who arrived in Bangladesh last year, about 2,00,000 other Rohingya had fled Myanmar during earlier violence by violence and persecution.