Published: Sat, February 17, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Myanmar clears 508 Hindu refugees for repatriation from Bangladesh

Myanmar clears 508 Hindu refugees for repatriation from Bangladesh

She started her speech to the Security Council by recounting how a Rohingya refugee in Bangladesh, Noor Kadir, told AP about surviving an attack by soldiers on 14 friends trying to choose sides for a local soccer-like game in the village of Gu Dar Pyin in Myanmar's Rakhine state. Confirming the reports would strengthen widespread claims of ethnic cleansing and potential genocide at the hands of Myanmar's military.

The U.N. Security Council has failed to respond to the crisis in Myanmar's Rakhine state and must hold the country's military accountable, the American ambassador to the U.N. said Tuesday.

This is part of the recent agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh to repatriate Rohingya refugees from the latter. "Kutupalong area in Bangladesh is now the largest refugee settlement in the world, and with the monsoon season to start in March, 107,000 refugees are estimated to be living in areas prone to flooding or landslides", Grandi noted.

He said his country recognizes freedom of the press and that the journalists were not arrested for reporting a story, but were accused of "illegally possessing confidential government documents".

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"The causes of their flight have not been addressed, and we have yet to see substantive progress on addressing the exclusion and denial of rights that has deepened over the last decades, rooted in their lack of citizenship", he continued.

"Numerous reports of systematic widespread and coordinated acts of violence strongly indicate that crimes against humanity have been committed in Rakhine", said Sweden's deputy U.N. Ambassador, Carl Skau.

"I urge my colleagues to seize this opportunity to end our inaction and live up to our responsibilities as members of this Security Council", Nikki Haley told the 15-member body and representatives from Bangladesh and Myanmar, also known as Burma.

But Bangladesh's U.N. Ambassador Masud Bin Momen echoed Grandi, noting "the prevailing reluctance to repatriation among those forcibly displaced".

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She also cited evidence of "another massacre and mass grave" in the fishing village of Inn Din, discovered by two Reuters reporters who are now imprisoned.

"The voluntary return of the forcibly displaced people can only take place under the assurance of non-criminalization, non-discrimination and sustainable resettlement and reintegration", he said.

"Their lives are at grave risk". He welcomed the dialogue between the Government of Bangladesh and the Government of the Union of Myanmar on the voluntary repatriation of refugees, and the commitment to global standards on voluntary, safe and dignified return set out in a recent agreement between the two countries.

"The Government is steering a massive emergency preparedness effort, but global support must be stepped up to avert a catastrophe". "An end to violence and destruction of property and granting humanitarian access throughout Rakhine State - as called for by the Secretary-General (Antonio Guterres) - were critical, basic steps", he said.

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Jenca said Myanmar's reported transmission of a list of what it said were 1,300 "terrorists" to Bangladesh and asking for their extradition, and its publication in the country's official newspaper of names and photos of hundreds of suspected "terrorists", has raised "questions about due process, and possible intimidation of potential returnees".

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