MYANMAR (OBSERVATORY) – The Rohingya refugees will be able to return to Burma as soon as possible despite the failure of their agreed repatriation plan with Bangladesh and a UN warning that the safety of returnees is not guaranteed, the Myanmar minister of social welfare said.
The Burmese minister made his remarks in Dhaka on Thursday after visiting a refugee camp in Bangladesh, which hosts a million Muslim refugees from the Rohingya, the majority of whom have fled Burma since last summer in front of a military campaign launched by the Burmese army, which the United Nations called “ethnic cleansing.”
“We can overcome the difficulties we face,” Burimi told reporters after meeting officials from Bangladesh.
“I am very confident that we can begin the process of repatriation as soon as possible,” after Burma repeatedly declared its readiness without setting a critical date, criticizing it for failing to implement a plan it agreed with Bangladesh in November to repatriate 750,000 refugees by the end of the year. the year. But the plan was delayed with each side blaming the other.
Wen Meiyat met with Rohingya officials at the massive Kotobalong camp near Cox’s Bazaar, where a group of refugees tried to organize a protest during the visit on Wednesday, the first Burmese official to the region.
The military campaign launched by the Burmese army in August 2017 forced some 700,000 Rohingyas to flee Rakhine state to Bangladesh, where they joined about 300,000 refugees who fled to the neighboring country during repeated waves of violence against the minority Muslim minority.
Burma has so far approved 600 names on a list of more than 8,000 refugees provided by Bangladesh. Last month, the Bangladeshi minister ruled out the return of refugees to their villages, accusing Burma of obstructing the agreed plan.
UN agencies said any deportation deal could expose the Rohingya to further risks because conditions in Rakhine do not allow them to return voluntarily and do not provide for their dignity and safety.
Ursula Mueller, the UN secretary-general’s humanitarian coordinator, who has visited northern Rakhine this month, said Burma still needs to address “key issues related to freedom of movement, social cohesion, livelihoods and basic services.”
The two sides are committed to implementing the repatriation plan, but many say they fear repeated persecution, which forced them to flee if they return under the plan and put them in makeshift camps for an unknown period waiting for housing, Bangladesh’s foreign minister said on Thursday.