Bangladesh and Myanmar agree to return Rohingya Muslims within two years

Phillip Cunningham
January 22, 2018

"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".

"There are talks between Bangladesh and Myanmar about people being returned to the very country which they fled. Bangladesh and Myanmar recently discussed and finalised the text (of the agreement) to facilitate the return of the Rohingyas from Bangladesh", he said.

A group of refugees at the Kutupalong Rohingya camp near Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh expressed doubt about the camps Myanmar has agreed to establish on its side of the border. Myanmar's army described it as "clearance operations" against terrorists, but the UN and the United States have called it "ethnic cleansing".

Communal tension between the Buddhist Rakhine population and Muslim Rohingya has risen sharply in recent years. Myanmar and Bangladesh have reached a deal on the return of hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingyas that sidelined the United Nations refugee agency. We really wish to go back to our land.

Speaking to SkyNews, Twigg said: "We need massive reassurances before there can be any suggestion of refugees returning and any return must be genuinely voluntary".

Earlier this week, Myanmar and Bangladesh reached a deal on the return of hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingyas.

Myint Kyaing, permanent secretary at Myanmar's Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population, told Reuters this month Myanmar would begin processing at least 150 people a day through each of the two camps by January 23.

The incident on August 25 led to a violent military operation in Myanmar against the alleged insurgents, triggering a humanitarian crisis as at least 650,000 people from the mostly Muslim Rohingya minority community fled to neighbouring Bangladesh. It would be the first camp built in the repatriation process.

Bangladeshi foreign secretary Mdshahidul Haque said the government had wanted Myanmar to accept 15,000 Rohingya each week - however, they eventually settled on 300 a day.

"Where are considerations for protection of the Rohingya from Myanmar security forces who months ago were raping and killing them?" said Phil Robertson, deputy director of the group's Asia Division.

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