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Newly arrived Rohingya refugees board a boat as they transfer to a camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh on October 2.
Newly arrived Rohingya refugees board a boat as they transfer to a camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh on October 2.

Rohingya Refugees Scorn at Myanmar Assurance on Going Home

At the root of the problem is the refusal by Buddhist-majority Myanmar to grant citizenship to members of a Muslim minority seen by a mostly unsympathetic, if not hostile, society as interlopers from Bangladesh

Rohingya Refugees Scorn at Myanmar Assurance on Going Home

Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh were skeptical on Tuesday about their chances of ever going home to Myanmar, even though the government there has given an assurance it would accept people verified as refugees.
More than half a million Rohingya have fled from a Myanmar military crackdown in Rakhine State launched in late August that has been denounced by the United Nations as ethnic cleansing, news outlets reported.
Myanmar denies ethnic cleansing, saying it is fighting Rohingya terrorists who have claimed attacks on the security forces. The government has said anyone verified as a refugee will be allowed to return under a process set up with Bangladesh in 1993.
Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed on Monday to work on a repatriation plan, and a Myanmar government spokesman confirmed it would go along with it, provided people could verify their status with paperwork.
But many refugees in camps in Bangladesh are scornful.
“Everything was burned, even people were burned,” said a man who identified himself as Abdullah, dismissing the chances that people would have documents to prove a right to stay in Myanmar.
At the root of the problem is the refusal by Buddhist-majority Myanmar to grant citizenship to members of a Muslim minority seen by a mostly unsympathetic, if not hostile, society as interlopers from Bangladesh.
Amina Katu, 60, laughed at the thought of returning.“If we go there, we’ll just have to come back here,” she said. “If they give us our rights, we will go, but people did this before and they had to return.”

  Unimaginable Suffering
The scale of the suffering inside Myanmar’s Rakhine State is “unimaginable”, the United Nations said Monday, after three of its members joined a belated government-steered visit for aid agencies and diplomats to the conflict-battered region.
Myanmar has tightly controlled access to the state since last month.
Scores of Rohingya villages have been torched.
A Myanmar official tally says hundreds of people died as violence consumed remote communities, including Rohingya.
Hindus and ethnic Rakhine were also among the dead —allegedly killed by Rohingya militants.
Rights groups say the real death toll is likely to be much higher, especially among the Rohingya, while the UN has labeled army operations as “ethnic cleansing” against the Muslim group.
Monday’s visit marks a thaw in the relationship, with the UN welcoming the trip as a “positive step” while reiterating “the need for greater humanitarian access”.
“The scale of the human suffering is unimaginable and the UN sends its deepest condolences to all those affected,” it said, calling for an end to the “cycle of violence”.
It also urged a “safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return of refugees to their area of origin”.
Diplomats and other NGOs accompanied them on the trip, which was delayed from last week. But the limitations of the one-day visit were not immediately clear.
The EU delegation to Myanmar also joined the whistle-stop trip, which took in Maungdaw and Rathedaung areas, explaining in a statement “this was not an investigation mission and could not be in the circumstances”.
“We saw villages that had been burned to the ground and emptied of inhabitants. The violence must stop,” it said, calling for unimpeded humanitarian and media access.
International aid groups fear tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who remain in northern parts of Rakhine are in urgent need of food, medicine and shelter after over a month of military operations.
In a sign of ongoing tensions and mistrust, a few thousand Rohingya have massed on a beach awaiting boats to Bangladesh after receiving death threats.
Myanmar had around 1.1 million Rohingya before August 25 attacks by militants from the minority group sparked a massive security crackdown.
The number has halved since then.
Rakhine has long been a cauldron of ethnic and religious tensions, but the last five years has seen communal relations plunge to their worst yet.

 

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