Myanmar/Burma

5 November 2018

Bangladesh and Myanmar plan to start the process of repatriation for Rohingya refugees despite UN investigators saying the Rohingya genocide is ongoing.


On 30 October 2018, Bangladesh and Myanmar announced they had agreed to begin returning hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar by mid-November. This announcement comes less than a week after Marzuki Darusman, chair of the UN’s investigation on Myanmar, stated that Rohingya people still living in Myanmar “continue to suffer the most severe” repression. Darusman also said that a genocide is still happening.

The Rohingya people are a Muslim minority in Myanmar, which is a Buddhist majority country. Most live in the Rakhine State, an area located in eastern Myanmar that borders with southern Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal. Since August 2017, around 720,000 Rohingya have left the country, due to a violent military crackdown, most of whom fled to camps in Bangladesh. Rohingya refugees face many challenges within the camps where they have been placed. In October 2018, the UN migration agency, IOM, stated that a large group of Rohingya girls and women in Bangladesh refugee camps were victims of human trafficking.

Since fleeing, many refugees have shared stories of atrocities allegedly carried out by Myanmar’s army, including rape, murder, and arson. These actions have been labelled as genocide by some, including the recent UN fact-finding mission. However, the government of Myanmar denies all accusations of genocide, insisting that all of their actions have been defensive against armed rebel fighters.

In response to the announcement from Myanmar and Bangladesh to start repatriation, the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, stated that the Rakhine State’s conditions were “not yet conducive for returns.” In a statement to Reuters, Andrej Mahecic, a UNHCR spokesman, said: “it is critical that returns are not rushed or premature.”

 

 

To know more, please read:

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/10/bangladesh-myanmar-start-returning-rohingya-november-181030111704845.html

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/10/investigator-myanmar-genocide-rohingya-ongoing-181025035804009.html

https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/10/1023282

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-rohingya/bangladesh-myanmar-agree-to-begin-rohingya-repatriation-by-mid-november-idUSKCN1N414Q

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-rohingya-un/rohingya-returns-to-myanmar-must-not-be-rushed-or-premature-unhcr-idUSKCN1N42BG