Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

Conditions not yet conducive for Rohingya refugee to return

Conditions not yet conducive for Rohingya refugee to return

According to U.N. officials, almost 700,000 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh from Rakhine to escape a military crackdown since August, amid reports of murder, rape and arson by Myanmar troops and Buddhist vigilantes which the United Nations has likened to "ethnic cleansing".

UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, and the Bangladesh government on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) relating to the voluntary returns of Rohingya refugees once the conditions in Myanmar are conducive, reports UNB.

The Security Council will send a mission to Iraq, Bangladesh, and Myanmar from April 26 to May 2, with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres hoping the trip will refocus the attention of the worldwide community on the plight of the Rohingya refugees, his spokesperson has said.

Another Bangladeshi official involved in the discussions said the MoU is likely to lay out that the UNHCR will vet all refugees being repatriated to ensure that the process is 100 percent voluntary.

On Tuesday, Bensouda had cited UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein who had described the Rohingya crisis as "ethnic cleansing".

Myanmar has said that the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction over the country and hence can not try it over allegations that hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas were deported to neighbouring Bangladesh.

The UNHCR called on Myanmar to provide the agency unhindered access in Rakhine to assess the situation and monitor the return and reintegration of refugees if and when they voluntarily return.

"Another practical measure would be to ease restrictions on movement for the internally displaced persons encamped in the central townships of Rakhine state, which would also help to build confidence among refugees in Bangladesh", it added.

Such measures "would help demonstrate to refugees that the Government of Myanmar is committed to a sustainable solution" to the problems faced by Rohingyas, the agency said.

The agreement would aim to set forth a framework for refugees SNG-QTS voluntary repatriation in line with global standards, create conditions that are conducive to eventual voluntary repatriation, and provide humanitarian and development assistance for all people of Rakhine state.

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