Rohingya refugees protest against move to send them home


Rohingya refugees are continuing to flee from Burma into Bangladesh, despite the two countries saying they will begin repatriating members of the minority ethnic group next week, Bangladesh officials said.

Even as Myanmar gets ready to start receiving the Rohingya next week, more of them are fleeing continued military operations in Rakhine, newly arrived refugees camp have told Reuters. Those Rohingyas will be sheltered in a temporary camp on Myanmar side before homes are built for them.

Foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali on Thursday said the Rohingya problem can be resolved permanently with sustainable return of Rohingyas to Myanmar.

Other demands include the return of occupied land to Rohingya refugees, as well as the rebuilding of homes, mosques, and schools. The community also wants the military to be held accountable for the alleged killing, looting and rape of Rohingyas during the violence that broke out in 2017.

It also wants Myanmar to stop listing people with their photographs as "terrorists" in state media and on government Facebook pages.

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The United Nations has called the violence against civilians "ethnic cleansing", but the Myanmarese government has rejected claims like these.

The military says it has only conducted legitimate operations and denies there have been cases of sexual assault.

Over 655,500 Muslim Rohingya fled to Bangladesh after the Myanmar military cracked down in the northern part of Rakhine state in response to militant attacks on security forces on August 25.

She visited different sections of the refugee camp from 8:30am to 1pm on Sunday and heard first-hand account on the atrocities committed against the Rohingyas and assured the refugees of safe rehabilitation.

Over 655,500 Muslim Rohingya fled to Bangladesh after the Myanmar military cracked down in the northern part of Rakhine state. According to the latest figures released by the United Nations, more than 665,500 have crossed into Bangladesh since last summer.

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Emphasising on development of Rakhine, US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Bernicat said Rohingyas are not willing to go back to their homeland and that is the key challenge.

They are officially described as "Bengalis", Muslim interlopers to a predominantly Buddhist land despite many living there for generations. He declined to elaborate.

Rakhine state Chief Minister Nyi Pu "insisted on completion of the finishing touches on buildings, medical clinics and sanitation infrastructures" during a visit to repatriation camps in the state on Friday, the Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper said.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, told Reuters in an email authorities can not deal with the Rohingya refugees "as if they are an inert mass of people who will go where and when they are told".

The World Bank said the Rohingya refugee crisis is growing quickly and support is needed to help cope with the influx.

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