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Bangladesh blames Burma for failure of return of Rohingya

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina blamed the Burmese government for failing in a recent attempt to repatriate Rohingya refugees and said Burma had not done enough to win the trust of the minority.

The comments came three weeks after a fresh attempt to return members of the minority to Burma’s restive Rakhine state, which failed after they refused to return.

About 740,000 Rohingya have fled their villages in Rakhine following the military crackdown in August 2017 to join some 200,000 refugees living in miserable camps across the border in southeastern Bangladesh.

“We saw how Burma could not gain the confidence of the Rohingya to create a good situation in Rakhine to return with dignity,” Hasina said in parliament late on Wednesday.

“We had full preparations, but the repatriation process has not started,” she said.

She said she had asked other Asian countries, including China, India and Japan, to help resolve the crisis.

Her remarks reflect Dhaka’s frustration at the lack of a solution to the refugee crisis. The Rohingya leaders rejected an earlier offer to return them in October.

Her government has launched a crackdown on camp activities amid recent violence and growing tensions with the local population.

Dhaka has cut off Internet access in the camps in the border towns of Teknaf and Ukhia.

Rohingya leaders have repeatedly stressed that refugees will not return to their homeland unless their safety and rights are guaranteed, citizenship is granted and they are allowed to return to their villages.

Burma does not recognize the Rohingya as an official minority and considers them Bangladeshis, although many of their families have lived in Burma for generations.

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