Rohingyas seek safety guarantee before repatriation

Rohingya Muslims wait for permission to move towards refugee camps

Rohingya Muslims wait for permission to move towards refugee camps

On 16 January, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a document on "Physical Arrangement" which will facilitate return of Rohingyas to their homeland from Bangladesh.

The diplomats, including the ones from the U.S., the United Kingdom and India, said it is necessary to have sustainable development in Rakhine State to create an environment for safe and sustainable return of Rohingyas. "Until they consider us citizens we won't go back".

"We want safe zones in Arakan [Rakhine] before repatriation", Mohibullah, a refugee and former teacher told Agence France-Presse (AFP) by phone from Cox's Bazar, where the camps are located.

Gungdum: Tension mounted on Sunday at refugee camps in Bangladesh holding hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims over an operation to send them back to Myanmar, from where they have fled following a military crackdown. The repatriation process would start next Tuesday, the statements said.

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.

The Rohingya want the Myanmar government to return the land they occupied rebuild their homes, mosques and schools.

Bangladesh will sign a document with the UN Refugee Agency to carry forward the repatriation process. "However, we remain steadfast in our foreign policy objective and continued our bilateral engagements with Myanmar", Ali added.

He said Dhaka and New Delhi have put in place a very "intensive security framework" including a three-tier mechanism between the home ministries of the two nations at the ministerial level and at the joint-secretary level.

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Myanmar, however, wants the involvement of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), not the UNHCR.

To ensure that the return is voluntary, Bangladesh has incorporated provisions for involvement of UNHCR and other relevant global organisations in the entire process, he added.

"The bottom line is that refugees have to decide themselves when they feel it's safe to go back, the process of the repatriation is safe and conditions on the ground make them feel safe", Caroline Gluck, a U.N. Refugee Agency senior public information officer, told HuffPost.

Foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque is also attending the briefing.

Myanmar stressed the need for both sides to take preventive measures against possible Rohingya attacks and said it gave Dhaka a list with the names of 1,000 alleged militants.

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.

In this regard he referred to the initiatives of India, China and Japan in developing resettlement facilities in Rakhine State and encouraged the worldwide community to offer similar helps to Myanmar.

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