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A campaign of killings, rape and arson attacks by Myanmar’s army have sent more than 850,000 of the country’s 1.3 million Rohingya fleeing.
A campaign of killings, rape and arson attacks by Myanmar’s army have sent more than 850,000 of the country’s 1.3 million Rohingya fleeing.

No Sign Rohingya Will Be Allowed to Return Home

No Sign Rohingya Will Be Allowed to Return Home

After facing international outrage and charges of ethnic cleansing, Myanmar made a pledge: Rohingya Muslims who fled the country by the hundreds of thousands would start their journey home within weeks.
With so many obstacles, however, and no real sign of good will, few believe that will happen, AP reported.
A campaign of killings, rape and arson attacks by Myanmar’s security forces and Buddhist-aligned mobs have sent more than 850,000 of the country’s 1.3 million Rohingya fleeing.
There is “no way” that will happen, says Chris Lewa, a leading expert on the Rohingya and the policies that have made them one of the world’s most persecuted minorities. The government, she notes, has done almost nothing to prepare.
While Myanmar said the Rohingya would be allowed to settle in their original homes, few of which remain standing, some officials have talked about putting them in “camps” in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State.
Anagha Neelakantan, Asia director of the International Crisis Group, meanwhile, warned of potential security risks. She also does not believe large numbers of Rohingya will be returning from Bangladesh any time soon.
And the presence of so many traumatized, hopeless refugees in Bangladesh, she said, could be a recipe for further instability.
Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, says the decision as to who returns and when should not be left to governments. It should be for residents inside Myanmar to decide.
“It is impossible to accept the number of persons proposed by Bangladesh,” he said last month in a statement. “Emphasis must be placed on the wish of local Rakhine ethnic people who are real Myanmar citizens. Only when local Rakhine ethnic people accept it, will all the people satisfy it.”
Though many Rohingya have been living in Myanmar for generations, they are seen by most people in the country as “foreign invaders” from Bangladesh. They have been denied citizenship, effectively rendering them stateless.

  Myanmar Invited to US-Thai Military Drill
Meanwhile, the Myanmar military, which has been accused of ethnic cleansing against the country’s Rohingya minority, has been invited back as an observer in a major multinational military exercise next year led by the United States and Thailand.
Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan, a Pentagon spokesman, told Reuters that Thailand had invited Myanmar to take part in the annual Cobra Gold exercise, which involves thousands of US and Thai military personnel and participants from other Asian countries.
Asked why Thailand decided to invite Myanmar despite concerns over the crackdown against the Rohingya and whether this issue was part of their deliberations, the official said: “That never came up in the discussions. We separated that issue (the Rohingya). We focus on training, on education, on military cooperation. That is our wish, to have Myanmar involved.”
Zachary Abuza, a professor at the US National War College, said inviting Myanmar to the exercise was “outrageous” and sent the wrong message.
“To invite them after what the US government has labeled ethnic cleansing, when the treasury department just yesterday designated the commander for these egregious violations of human rights, just seems wrong, and that is putting it too mildly,” said Abuza, who focuses on Southeast Asia and security issues, including human rights.

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