Bangladesh postpones Rohingya repatriation
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 1/22/18, 10:32 am
Bangladesh has postponed its plan to begin repatriating more than 680,000 Rohingya Muslims back to Myanmar, also known as Burma, amid concerns the process will not be voluntary, a Bangladeshi official confirmed Monday. Bangladesh and Myanmar signed an agreement to return the refugees in “safety, security, and dignity” beginning Tuesday. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled into neighboring Bangladesh in August after a deadly security crackdown, which the UN called ethnic cleansing, in Rakhine state. Abul Kam, the refugee and repatriation commissioner in Bangladesh, said several issues need to be resolved before the process can begin. “The main thing is that the process has to be voluntary,” he said. Kalam added the paperwork for returning the refugees is yet to be finalized and transit camps in Bangladesh are still not built. It remains unclear when the process will actually start. Rights groups had earlier raised concerns over whether the Rohingya would be forced to return to the same discriminatory conditions they faced in Burma before they fled.
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.