A Dutch-based Rohingya advocacy group on Monday expressed deep concern over the “premature repatriation” from Bangladesh to Myanmar of over 3,500 Rohingya refugees set to start this Thursday.
“Myanmar has so far failed to present to Rohingya community a clear, transparent, strategic and genuine plan of repatriation of nearly one million Rohingya [who] survived from Myanmar’s genocide,” the European Rohingya Council (ERC) said in a statement.
Referring to an Aug. 16 announcement by Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay, the council added that they were appalled by “Myanmar’s deceptive and dishonest approach of repatriation.”
Calling the planned repatriation “premature,” the statement said: “Repatriation is impossible while there is still genocidal persecution of Rohingya inside Rakhine state such as restriction of movement, livelihood and education. Hundreds of Rohingya are still locked up in Internally Displaced Camps (IDPs).”
Urging help from Bangladesh, the UNHCR refugee agency, and all other stakeholders for safe and dignified repatriation, the statement said: “Sustainable repatriation begins with dismantling IDPs and allowing Rohingya to return to their original places; removal of movement restrictions; giving Rohingya access to [the] internet, education and livelihood; reinstating citizenship; and coming up with [a] transparent, genuine, and well-informed repatriation plan.”
Without doing all the above, any repatriation move amounts is a ruse, the statement said, adding: “We also urged Rohingya to be united and not to fall in the trap of Myanmar’s fake repatriation program.”
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women, and children, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience."/aa