Published: Mon, January 22, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Russian Federation welcomes agreements on return of refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar

Russian Federation welcomes agreements on return of refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar

Before the start of repatriation process for Rohingya refugees back to Rakhine state expected to begin next week, hundreds of Rohingya protested Friday, demanding citizenship and guarantees of security.

United Nations human rights special rapporteur to Myanmar Yanghee Lee has assured Rohingya refugees full cooperation in their safe rehabilitation during a visit to several Rohingya camps in and around Ukhiya's Balukhali on Sunday.

The petition demands that the Myanmar government publicly announce it is giving Rohingya long-denied citizenship and inclusion on a list of the country's recognised ethnic groups.

Myanmar will start receiving Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh at two reception centres and the temporary camp near Maungtaw starting on Tuesday and continuing over the next two years, under an agreement the two countries signed this week.

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Amnesty International has said the plans to repatriate the Rohingya were "alarmingly premature" and warned that any "forcible returns would be a violation of international law".

Police said they were unaware of the protests.

Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla stressed the need for better livelihood of Rohingyas and said, "We always believe there should be sustainable development in Rakhine State to create an environment so that they feel to go back home".

The return of Rohingyas is scheduled to begin tomorrow, but some of the major tasks including finalisation of the list of families and setting up of repatriation camps remain incomplete.

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Bangladesh will sign a document with the UN Refugee Agency to carry forward the repatriation process.

It wants the military held accountable for alleged killings, looting and rape and the release from jails of "innocent Rohingya" picked up in counter-insurgency operations.

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.

The current crisis erupted on August 25, when the Myanmar Army launched an operation in Rakhine, where around 1 million Rohingyas were living, in retaliation against an attack on multiple government outposts by a Rohingya insurgent group. "Any repatriation of Rohingyas back to Myanmar needs to be voluntary", said spokesman for the United Nations secretary-general Stephane Dujarric in a regular briefing at the United Nations headquarters. It asks that land once occupied by the refugees be returned to them and their homes, mosques and schools rebuilt.

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The repatriation deal does not cover over 200,000 other Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh prior to October 2016, who had been driven out of Myanmar during previous episodes of ethnic violence and military operations. "People would go back directly", Mostafa said, adding that the Myanmar Army was still allegedly carrying out torture as part of an ongoing campaign.

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