Rohingya delegates to visit Myanmar for repatriation plan

Dhaka, May 3 (EFE).- A 20-member Rohingya delegation is scheduled to visit Myanmar later this week to check the conditions in Rakhine State ahead of a start of repatriation to the country, the Bangladesh authorities confirmed Wednesday.

The delegation representing Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, who fled Myanmar following persecution by the security forces, is expected to visit the strife-torn country on Friday.

“This will be a one-day visit. Some Bangladesh officials will also accompany the Rohingya delegates,” Mizanur Rahman, the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner of Bangladesh, told EFE.

This will be the first visit of a Rohingya team to Myanmar since around 774,000 Rohingyas arrived in Bangladesh following a military crackdown in 2017, which the United Nations classified as an example of ethnic cleansing and possible genocide.

Previously, Bangladesh twice attempted to repatriate members of the community to Myanmar, however, the process was a failure as the Rohingyas refused to return without recognition as citizens and guarantees of security.

A delegation from Myanmar visited Bangladesh in March to restart the long-stalled repatriation process.

Bangladesh’s refugee commissioner, Rahman, said that Myanmar had verified a total of 1,176 Rohingyas to start the repartition under a pilot programme, but no date had been fixed for it.

“It will depend on the result of visits like this when the repatriation can be started,” he said.

Dhaka has in the past claimed to have collected the biometric data of around 830,000 Rohingyas, and submitted it to the authorities in Myanmar for verification.

However, only 58,000 of them have been verified.

In March, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement it was aware of the visit of a Myanmar team to Bangladesh for a bilateral pilot project on possible returns but was not involved in it.

“UNHCR’s position on returns of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar remains unchanged,” the statement said.

“Conditions in Myanmar’s Rakhine State are currently not conducive to the sustainable return of Rohingya refugees,” it had underlined.

In March, the New York-based nonprofit Human Rights Watch urged Bangladesh to suspend plans to send Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar, saying it would put their lives and liberty at grave risk.

The statement came a week after a Myanmar delegation concluded its visit to Bangladesh after interviewing some 480 Rohingyas in refugee camps for possible repatriation.

Quoting Rohingyas, HRW said the refugees were “lied to, deceived, or otherwise coerced by Bangladesh administrators” into a meeting with the delegation of Myanmar junta officials as part of a “pilot repatriation” effort. EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button