First Rohingya family repatriated in Myanmar despite United Nations concerns
Apr 15 2018 by Desiree Burns
Fleeing Rohingya refugees have reported suffering including killings, sexual assaults and arson on a large scale, according to Reuters.
Authorities there deny this, insisting that they have been waging a legitimate counter-insurgency operation after attacks by Rohingya militants on security forces last August. The United States and the United Nations have described the situation as ethnic cleansing.
According to the Rohingya Blogger, however, the individuals in the photos are the family members of the administrator of Taung Pyo Latya, the designated entry point for returning refugees.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the Government of Bangladesh finalized a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Geneva on April 13 relating to voluntary returns of Rohingya refugees once conditions in Myanmar are conducive.
The move comes despite warnings from the United Nations and other rights groups that a mass repatriation of Rohingya would be premature, as Myanmar has yet to address the systematic legal discrimination and persecution the minority has faced for decades.
A man, two women and two children were also photographed getting medical checks and ID cards.
The Rohingya exodus has created a humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh, a small, poor country that is one of the most densely populated in the world.
"The five members of a family. came back to Taungpyoletwei town repatriation camp in Rakhine state this morning", the post said.
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Authorities determined "whether they were once living here" and provided the family with National Verification Cards, a form of ID that falls short of citizenship and has been rejected by Rohingya leaders who want full rights.
The agreement, signed by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque, established a framework of cooperation between UNHCR and Bangladesh on the safe, voluntary, and dignified returns of refugees in line with global standards.
Myanmar officials could not be reached for further details and the post did not say whether any more returns were expected soon. Many refuse to return without a guarantee of basic rights and citizenship.
During the visit, Win announced that Myanmar is ready for the repatriation of Rohingya.
Rohingya who have been repatriated in the past have been forced to live in camps in Burma.
Many Rohingya refugees say they fear returning to a country where they saw their relatives murdered by soldiers and where Buddhist vigilantes drove them from their homes.
Several boats with Rohingya from parts of the violence-torn Rakhine state have left Myanmar in recent months.