Rohingya refugees face forced repatriation

Bangladesh and Burma agreed Jan. 16 to complete the return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees within two years. According to a statement by the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the repatriation will be completed within two years from commencement. Under the agreement, Bangladesh will establish five camps. They will then move the Rohingya from these camps to two reception centers established on Burma's side of the border. Burma will then shelter the Rohingya in temporary accommodations while rebuilding houses for them. Humanitarian organizations are warning that this time frame is insufficient to guarantee a safe and voluntary return. A representative of the UN Refugee Agency said the Rohingya should voluntarily return only when they feel that it is safe to do so. (Jurist)

Advocates for the refugees are skeptical of official assurances from Burma and Bangladesh that all repatriations will be voluntary. Mark Farmaner from Burma Campaign UK told Sky News: "Bangladesh and Burma are effectively playing ping-pong with the Rohingya, while the rest of the international community stands by. They will be returned to giant prison camps, have no rights, and be at constant risk of further attacks by the Burmese military."

Photo: European Commission via Flickr

  1. HRW: Burma bulldozing Rohingya villages

    Burmese forces have been bulldozing depopulated Rohingya villages that were previously the targets of attacks by the government, Human Rights Watch reported Feb. 23. Satellite images have shown that at least 55 villages were cleared since late 2017. HRW has called on Burma to preserve the villages pending investigation by UN experts in order to document human rights violations. Although many of the villages were among the 362 that were partially or completely destroyed by security forces, at least two of the villages were completely intact before the bulldozing. HRW was not able to determine if the villages were still inhabited prior to demolition. (Jurist)