Rohingya refugee leaders draw up demands ahead of repatriation

Rohingya refugee leaders draw up demands ahead of repatriation

World Bank South Asia Region Vice President Annette Dixon praised the Bangladesh government for sheltering and caring for the Myanmar refugees and said the organisation was ready to help the country and the displaced Rohingyas.

In the face of criticism from some quarters over limiting the movement of Rohingya refugees outside their camps in Cox's Bazar, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Information and Communication technology (ICT) Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy stated that the Bangladesh administration had to introduce the policy to ensure the security of citizens. The "clearance operations" - which the United Nations, the US and others have called "ethnic cleansing" - appear to have been aimed at removing members of the Muslim minority from the country.

Rohingya refugees at the sprawling Kutupalong camp in Bangladesh are balking at going back until Myanmar can guarantee their safety, among other demands listed in a petition drawn up by camp leaders and shown to Reuters.

Bangladesh has reached an agreement with Myanmar to send back the around 750,000 refugees who have arrived since October 2016 over the next two years, a process set to begin as early as next week. The government is vaccinating children, registering Rohingya so they can receive assistance, and building living quarters and other infrastructure.

"We hope to see the problem to be resolve permanently with sustainable return of Rohingyas to Myanmar".

"I have visited some border points to see the possible routes for repatriation over last few days, but we have not finalized anything yet", he said, calling it a "huge task" to co-ordinate among government departments, worldwide agencies and the Rohingya.

Still, the U.N. High Commission for Refugees cautioned that "major challenges have to be overcome". It asks that land once occupied by the refugees be returned to them and their homes, mosques and schools rebuilt.

In a statement circulated on Twitter, the Arakan Rohingya Salavation Army (ARSA) said the "deceitfully and crookedly (repatriation) offering" will lock Rohingya in "so-called temporary camps. instead of allowing them to resettle in their own ancestral lands and villages". "They know they won't be killed there".

Rohingya began fleeing to Bangladesh when Myanmar's military launched a crackdown after a militant group attacked police posts. Journalists have been barred from Rakhine state, where most of the counterinsurgency "clearance operations" have taken place.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human RightsWatch, told Reuters in an email authorities can not deal with the Rohingya refugees "as if they are an inert mass of people who will go where and when they are told".

"As it stands", the committee added, "this is a matter of grave concern to us".



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