Government: Myanmar Repatriates First Rohingya Refugee Family


The Associated Press (AP) report says Myanmar has accepted what appears to be the first five among some 700,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled military-led violence against the minority group, even though the United Nations says it is not yet safe for them to return home.

A government statement said that five members of a family returned to western Rakhine state from the border area.

He said they heard that the family was part of 6000 Rohingyas living on the zero line.

Many Rohingya worry national verification cards will brand them with a permanent immigration status, meaning they can't become full citizens of Myanmar. It said that the family was staying temporarily with relatives in Maungdaw town, the administrative center close to the border.

Myanmar officials could not be reached for further details and the post did not say whether any more returns were expected soon.

Munier also said Bangladesh has also signed a deal with the UNHCR on voluntary repatriation of the Rohingyas, while the UN Refugee Agency is negotiating another deal with Myanmar.

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"Five members of a Muslim family.came to the Taungpyoletwea reception centre in Rakhine state this morning", the Myanmar government said in a statement late on Saturday.

A handout photo released by Myanmar News Agency on April 15, 2018, shows Myanmar immigration official hands over identification documents to an unidentified Rohingya woman belonging to a five-member Rohingya family at Taungpyoletwei town repatriation camp in Maungdaw near Bangladesh border.

The agency said that in the absence of a tripartite agreement between UNHCR, Myanmar and Bangladesh, The UN agency has continued to engage with governments of both the countries in negotiations on two separate agreements meant to ensure that any future returns are conducted in line with the global standards of voluntariness, safety and dignity. We've no formal information about the repatriation of a five-member Rohingya family. "They have not been able to create a ground for trust that they will take back these people", he added.

A Rohingya leader, Abdur Rahim, said at least eight rape victims were among those who met him.

"Such concrete measures would help demonstrate to refugees that the Government of Myanmar is committed to a sustainable solution", it said.

Myanmar has accepted the first five among some 700,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees who had fled military-led violence.

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He made the comment when asked about the return of a Rohingya family to Myanmar on Saturday. Almost all have been denied citizenship since 1982, effectively rendering them stateless.

Ursula Mueller, assistant secretary general for the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, visited northern this month and said Myanmar still needs to address "critical issues of freedom of movement, social cohesion, livelihoods, and access to services".

Many have refused to take part in repatriation until they receive guarantees about their rights and citizenship.

Rohingya who have been repatriated in the past have been forced to live in camps in Myanmar.

The move comes amid warnings from the United Nations and other rights groups that repatriation of Rohingya would be premature, as Myanmar has yet to address the systematic legal discrimination and persecution the minority has faced for decades.

Many refugees say they fear a repeat of the persecution that forced them off their lands if they go back under the repatriation deal, and of being placed in temporary transit camps for an unknown period of time as they await new housing.

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