Myanmar to repatriate 2,000 Rohingya from Bangladesh camps in November, claims top official

Officials from Bangladesh and Myanmar announced that some of the 720,000 Muslim Rohingya who fled a deadly military clampdown in the Buddhist-majority country last year would start returning next month.

Agence France-Presse October 31, 2018 19:40:30 IST
Myanmar to repatriate 2,000 Rohingya from Bangladesh camps in November, claims top official

Cox's Bazar: A top Myanmar official said on Wednesday that his country would take back a first group of 2,000 Rohingya refugees from camps in Bangladesh in November despite widespread doubts over the proposal.

Officials from the two countries announced on Tuesday that some of the 720,000 Muslim Rohingya who fled a deadly military clampdown in the Buddhist-majority country last year would start returning next month.

Myanmar to repatriate 2000 Rohingya from Bangladesh camps in November claims top official

File image of Rohingya refugees. Reuters

Myanmar foreign secretary Myint Thu visited the camps in Cox's Bazar on Wednesday to discuss the repatriations with refugees.

Most repeated demands that they be given Myanmar nationality with full rights before they return.

Thu said Myanmar has verified 5,000 names on a list of 8,032 Rohingya that Bangladesh authorities sent in February.

"From that 5,000, the first batch will be about 2,000 people. And then a second batch will follow. So in mid-November we will receive the first batch," Thu told reporters.

Bangladesh officials said a new list of 24,342 Rohingya names was handed over in talks this week. But Rohingya representatives expressed strong doubts about going back despite the announcement. "We would rather die in the camp in Bangladesh. We will not return without any guarantee of citizenship or fully restored rights," Abdul Hakim, one refugee from Myanmar's Rakhine state, told AFP.

The United Nations, aid groups and even Bangladesh authorities have said any repatriation must be voluntary.

Oxfam spokesperson Rachael Reilly said the refugees "want to see justice served and an end to the violence and discrimination that have caused this crisis". "It is deeply concerning that Rohingya people may be sent back to Myanmar to face the same persecution they fled," she said.

The 720,000 joined about 300,000 who fled earlier violence in Myanmar, where the Rohingya are refused citizenship and rights. Many brought harrowing tales of rape, murder and burning of villages.

Investigators have said senior Myanmar military officials should be prosecuted for genocide, but Myanmar has rejected the calls, insisting it only targeted militants.

The two neighbours first announced a large-scale repatriation plan in November 2017. But it has failed to advance, with each government blaming the other.

Updated Date:

also read

Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh: Dimuth Karunaratne posts maiden double ton as first Test heads towards high-scoring draw
First Cricket News

Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh: Dimuth Karunaratne posts maiden double ton as first Test heads towards high-scoring draw

Karunaratne and De Silva were involved in a 322-run partnership for the fourth wicket on a wicketless day dominated by the Sri Lankans.

Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh: Praveen Jayawickrama's 11-wicket haul guides hosts to 209-run win in second Test, take series 1-0
First Cricket News

Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh: Praveen Jayawickrama's 11-wicket haul guides hosts to 209-run win in second Test, take series 1-0

The 22-year-old left-armer Jayawickrama was named player of the match after claiming 11-178 on his first Test appearance as he added five second-innings wickets to his six in the first.