Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Bangladesh, UN blast Myanmar 'propaganda' on Rohingya

Bangladesh, UN blast Myanmar 'propaganda' on Rohingya

Myanmar on Saturday repatriated what it said was the first Rohingya family from almost 700,000 refugees who had fled to Bangladesh, after months of fraught talks with Dhaka and amid United Nations warnings that the country is not ready for their return.

Rahim said the group became angry when Win Myat Aye said the Rohingya refugees must accept national verification cards to be provided by Myanmar in which they state they are migrants from Bangladesh.

Bangladesh and the United Nations refugee agency on Sunday disputed Myanmar's claim it had repatriated five members of a Rohingya family, saying neither the government of Bangladesh nor the aid agency had any involvement in any such repatriation.

A man, two women and two children were also photographed getting medical checks and ID cards.

He said Bangladesh has given them temporary shelter on humanitarian ground.

Myanmar has accepted the first five among some 700,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees who had fled military-led violence.

Bangladesh's refugee commissioner, Mohammad Abul Kalam, told Agence France-Presse the family had been living in a camp erected on a patch of "no man's land" between the two countries. The most recent one, carrying 70 Rohingya, reportedly set out from Myanmar toward Malaysia on Thursday, the same day the family of five returned to Rakhine. Amnesty International released a report in November warning repatriation wasn't the right course of action yet.

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The statement did not say if any more repatriations are being planned.

Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed a repatriation plan in January but its start has been repeatedly delayed as both sides blame the other for lack of preparation.

"Since the family did not enter Bangladesh, their return can not be considered repatriation".

Rohingya who have been repatriated in the past after previous refugee exoduses have been forced to live in camps in Myanmar.

United Nations agencies have warned that any repatriation deal could place returning Rohingya in further danger and that conditions on the ground are not conducive for a voluntary, safe and dignified return.

According to UN officials, almost 700,000 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh from Rakhine to escape a military crackdown since August, amid reports of murder, rape and arson by Myanmar troops and Buddhist vigilantes which the United Nations has likened to "ethnic cleansing".

NVCs are part of the government's ongoing effort to register Rohingya that falls short of offering them citizenship.

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Doctors Without Borders says the violence claimed at least 6,700 Rohingya lives in the first month alone.

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.

It added that family members who "are in line with the rules" were issued with national verification cards (NVCs) upon entering Myanmar. The latest confirmed departure took place on Thursday.

Then, Bangladesh handed over a list of 8,032 Rohingyas in mid-February, and Myanmar verified only some 700 of them.

Asif Munier said Myanmar has time and again blamed Bangladesh when the latter is bearing the brunt of the Rohingya crisis, something the country is in no way responsible for.

Separately, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement on Sunday it had no direct knowledge of this case and was not consulted or involved in this reported return.

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