Government fears sabotage in refugee repatriation

Friday, 26 Jan, 2018

During the mission, MPs have visited the refugee camps in Cox's Bazar and met with a wide variety of stakeholders, including from the parliament and government.

"We are right now at the border ready to receive, if the Bangladeshis bring them to our side", Kyaw Tin, minister of global cooperation, told reporters in Naypyidaw, Myanmar's capital.

Bangladeshi golfer Siddikur Rahman on Wednesday pulled out of the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open, citing his support for Rohingya Muslim refugees who have fled a military crackdown in the mainly Buddhist country.

An official who preferred to be unnamed told Xinhua that Bangladesh will send a delegation to Rakhine state to see Myanmar's preparations for the Rohingya repatriation.

"I was extremely upset at State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's reaction to my request that she address the situation of the two Reuters journalists both swiftly and fairly", Richardson said in a statement, using an honorific for Suu Kyi.

"But on Monday, refugee chief Kalam said transit centres still needed to be built, and work remained to be done on the "rigorous process" of approving lists of those entitled €" and willing €" to return to Myanmar.

Most Myanmar citizens consider most Muslim people in northern Rakhine as interlopers from neighbouring Bangladesh and not part of the country's ethnic groups, despite the fact that they have been living in the area for generations.

The board was informed that Richardson "had to be asked to leave", it said.

Ivanka Trump
Ivanka Trump. AP

Since the agreement was signed on November 23 past year with a timeframe to start repatriation within two months, it was assumed that the repatriation of Rohingya refugees will start on January 23, he said.

A top United States diplomat has resigned from an global committee that was set up by the Myanmar government to advise on the Rohingya crisis, Reuters reported on Thursday.

One of the key members of the global advisory panel to Aung San Suu Kyi has resigned in spectacular fashion.

As of August a year ago, more than 688,000 Rohingya have been forced to flee their homes in northern Rakine State amid widespread reports of military-backed mass rape, murder and the burning down of entire villages.

In a statement Wednesday, Ambassador Bill Richardson, who also served as governor of New Mexico, described himself as a friend of Aung San Suu Kyi but accused her of an absence of "moral leadership" on the refugee crisis and of disparaging "the media, the United Nations, human rights groups, and in general the global community". Only refugees with identity documents — which most Rohingya lack — will be allowed back into Myanmar. They have been denied citizenship, freedom of movement and other basic rights. They should take as much time as required.

Myanmar says it will take 1,500 refugees each week, a drop in the ocean of the near 800,000 who are due to be repatriated from two waves of violence.

Reporters Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, had worked on Reuters coverage of the crisis in Rakhine, from where 688,000 Rohingya have fled an army crackdown on insurgents since late August, according to estimates by the UN.

"As of today, the necessary safeguards for potential returnees are absent, and there are continued restrictions on access for aid agencies, the media and other independent observers", UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said in Geneva on Tuesday.