Efforts to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar fail after no one turns up to board buses organised by Bangladesh govt
A fresh push to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar appeared to fall flat on Thursday, with no one turning up to hop on five buses and 10 trucks laid on by Bangladesh.
A fresh push to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar appeared to fall flat on Thursday, with no one turning up to hop on five buses and 10 trucks laid on by Bangladesh
'We have been waiting since 9.00 am to take any willing refugees for repatriation,' Khaled Hossain, a Bangladesh official in charge of the Teknaf refugee camp, said
Some 7,40,000 of the long-oppressed mostly Muslim Rohingya minority fled a military offensive in 2017 in Myanmar's Rakhine state, joining 2,00,000 already in Bangladesh
Teknaf, Bangladesh: A fresh push to repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar appeared to fall flat on Thursday, with no one turning up to hop on five buses and 10 trucks laid on by Bangladesh.
"We have been waiting since 9.00 am to take any willing refugees for repatriation," Khaled Hossain, a Bangladesh official in charge of the Teknaf refugee camp, told AFP after over an hour of waiting. "Nobody has yet turned up."
Some 7,40,000 of the long-oppressed mostly Muslim Rohingya minority fled a military offensive in 2017 in Myanmar's Rakhine state, that the United Nations has likened to ethnic cleansing, joining 2,00,000 already in Bangladesh.
Demanding that Buddhist-majority Myanmar guarantee their safety and citizenship, only a handful have returned from the vast camps in southeast Bangladesh where they have now lived for two years.
The latest repatriation attempt — a previous push failed in November — follows a visit last month to the camps by high-ranking officials from Myanmar led by Permanent Foreign Secretary Myint Thu.
Bangladesh's foreign ministry forwarded a list of more than 22,000 refugees to Myanmar for verification and Naypyidaw cleared 3,450 individuals for "return".
But on Wednesday, several Rohingya refugees whose names were listed told AFP that said they did not want to return unless their safety was ensured and they were granted citizenship. "It is not safe to return to Myanmar," one of them, Nur Islam, told AFP.
Officials from the UN and Bangladesh's refugee commission have also been interviewing Rohingya families in the settlements to find out if they wanted to return.
"We have yet to get consent from any refugee family," a UN official said Wednesday.
Rohingya community leader Jafar Alam told AFP the refugees had been gripped by fear since authorities announced the fresh repatriation process. They also feared being sent to camps for internally displaced people (IDP) if they went back to Myanmar.
Bangladesh refugee commissioner Mohammad Abul Kalam said they were "fully prepared" for the repatriation with security being tightened across the refugee settlements to prevent any violence or protests. Officials said they would wait for a few more hours before deciding whether to postpone the repatriation move.
In New York, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Wednesday that repatriations had to be "voluntary". "Any return should be voluntary and sustainable and in safety and in dignity to their place of origin and choice," Dujarric told reporters. The UN Security Council met behind closed doors on the issue on Wednesday.
Sunday will mark the second anniversary of the crackdown that sparked the mass exodus to the Bangladesh camps.
The Rohingya are not recognised as an official minority by the Myanmar government, which considers them Bengali interlopers despite many families having lived in Rakhine for generations.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a statement, decried a 'profoundly disturbing' number of cases of poisoning or targeted assassination in Russia over the past two decades
Afghanistan government airstrikes kill 24 civilians, injure 6 in northern province of Kunduz, say witnesses
The Afghan defence ministry claimed the airstrikes killed 30 Taliban fighters, but added an investigation was being held into claims that civilians were among the dead
UNGA adopts 'foward-looking' declaration for multilateralism, 'inclusive development' to mark its 75th anniversary
The landmark declaration was adopted at the high-level meeting of the 193-member Assembly to commemorate the milestone anniversary of the world body