Rohingya Refugees In Bangladesh Protest Repatriation Move

Rohingya Refugees In Bangladesh Protest Repatriation Move

The refugees chanted slogans and held banners demanding citizenship and guarantees of security before they return to their home state of Rakhine in Myanmar. "Again the conditions have to be safe and acceptable", she said.

"Repatriated Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh will never be able to settle down in their own ancestral lands and villages, rather than spending not only the rest of their lives but also the lives of their next generations to come in those concentration camps", the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) said in a statement on Twitter.

The petition is the latest indication of the challenges ahead for Bangladesh and Myanmar as they try to engineer the return of refugees who fear continued military operations in Rakhine State and are dismayed about the prospect of a prolonged stay in "temporary camps" in Myanmar when they go back. Burma is the former name of Myanmar.

Paul Vrieze, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) spokesman in Myanmar, cautioned that the returnees must not be rushed out of Bangladesh prematurely "without the informed consent of refugees or the basic elements of lasting solutions in place". After verification, they will send a list of the persons they find eligible for repatriation.

The refugees who agree to return voluntarily will be handed over to Myanmar authorities, he said.

Four of them said they were among more than 70 camp leaders - representing thousands of refugees - who met army officers at the Gungdum camp on Saturday. Among them is a demand that the Myanmar government publicly announce that it is giving the Rohingyas citizenship - which they have always been denied.

They are also asking that their homes, mosques and schools that were burned down or damaged in the military operation be rebuilt.

British high commissioner Alison Blake said the return should be "safe, voluntary and dignified" so that it becomes sustainable.

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"They do not want to go back to uncertainty".

"We want a United Nations peacekeeping force in Arakan".

The repatriation process could begin next week and may last for two years, according to Reuters.

"They [UNHCR] gave us a draft memorandum of understanding (MoU)".

"In order to ensure that the return is voluntary, Bangladesh has incorporated provisions for involvement of UNHCR and other relevant global organisations in the entire return process", he said at the meeting in Dhaka.

Foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque is also attending the briefing.

Bangladesh on Sunday sought to reassure the worldwide community that a planned repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to conflict-scarred western Myanmar would be "voluntary" and in coordination with the United Nations.

He said Myanmar involved China, Japan and India for the development of Rakhine and he is likely to visit the Myanmarese state to see the progress.

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