Human rights groups have expressed concerns about the repatriation process, including where the persecuted minority will be relocated after the destruction of hundreds of their villages and how to ensure their safety in a country with angry anti-Muslim sentiments. Some aid workers fear being forcibly interned. Myanmar said the agreement dealt with a 1992/93 repatriation pact between the two countries, which followed a previous crisis of violence. “We were unable to start repatriation today because the Rohingya were not ready to return voluntarily. We waited until 16.m,” the head of the Bangladesh Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission, Md. Abul Kalam, told BenarNews, an online intelligence service affiliated with the FRG. In northern Rakhine State, violence erupted in August 2017, when militants attacked government forces. In response, security forces, backed by Buddhist militias, launched an “evacuation operation,” which eventually killed at least 1,000 people and forced more than 600,000 people to flee their homes. The senior UN human rights official said the military`s response to insurgent attacks was “clearly disproportionate” and warned that Myanmar`s treatment of its Rohingya minority appeared to be an “example of ethnic cleansing”. Bangladesh did not begin repatriating the Rohingya on Thursday because no refugees agreed to return to Myanmar, while hundreds of people protested in refugee settlements to demand justice and the restoration of their civil rights in the neighboring country.
More than 740,000 Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh in 2016 and 2017, in the midst of violence in Rakhine State. MYANMAR AND BANGLADESH signed an agreement on 16 January in Nay Pyi Taw on the repatriation of Muslims who had fled to the neighbouring country amid violence following extremist attacks in October 2016 and August 2017. The main point of the agreement, which followed detailed negotiations, is that both sides intend to repatriate and resettle refugees within two years. This week, I would like to discuss the challenges that are likely to arise in the implementation of the return agreement. In April, Bangladesh and UNHCR signed a separate memorandum on the voluntary repatriation of stateless Rohingya refugees. “Bangladesh will send a team to Rakhine State to see how pleasant the situation is for the repatriation of the Rohingya,” Ali Reporters said in his office. The return agreement faces many challenges and the first is whether refugees will accept return. According to reports from Bangladesh, some refugees are reluctant to return because they fear for their safety and others are cautious about the possibility of a longer stay in camps. Refugees know that residents of IDP camps near Sittwe, the state capital, live in conditions similar to those of house arrest.
If attention is not paid to the entire repatriation process instead of serving as a “way out”, the agreement will only exacerbate the humanitarian catastrophe that has been occurring for decades. UN officials said the recent memorandum was a necessary first step in creating conditions conducive to the safe and voluntary repatriation of the Rohingya. . . .